History tends to repeat itself, and last year we had a problem with copyright issues from fake Chinese escort agencies that stolen content from our website pages. We would like to share a new story with other genuine escort agencies and our clients, not only to protect our website but to raise awareness of the scammers and fake escort profiles and Directories in the escorting industry to further protect us all from fraud and false advertising.
A few months ago, London Privé started getting phone calls from the Gloucester area all the time. Being that we are a London-based agency, you will get a few unusual phone calls, but these were certainly excessive. We started to suspect that something suspicious was going on so we conducted further investigation. Our tech guys were employed and followed certain keywords related to these calls so that we can see where they are from. Even when we finally knew something was up, it took some time to find out how and why.
One of the first steps was to look into marketing as a whole - were we marketing to the wrong audience? It could have been a possibility. We investigated and followed all the additional marketing on other escorting directories for two whole weeks waiting for data to come in.
It was not until august that we found the escort adverts that have copied the profiles of two girls from London Privé. They were advertised in the Gloucester independent escort directory: https://gloucester.escortdirectory-uk.com/
As you can see, some photos on the side, you might recognise on the escort directory belonging to Ambra and Alicia advertised on London Privé, with not just their photos copied but stolen text as well.
But something more is wrong here...
Obviously, these ladies do not live in Gloucester and they definitely do not give out their phone numbers. So who has posted these fake phone numbers? This is not just copyright theft, but also fraud. We found these two phone numbers used in both of the fake independent escort advertisements: 07015 262841 and 07015 225027.
07015 numbers charge anywhere from 5 to 50 pence per minute and the setup fee is a lot more expensive than normal mobile numbers. Moreover, we found that the same phone numbers were used in other advertisements for different agencies with different ladies. These phone numbers charge high premium prices, which genuine escort agencies and independent escorts do not use, therefore it is obvious they are used for scamming purposes. We understand that escorts advertising is more and more popular, but everyone should be careful and respect some guidelines when going on the quest to find an escort and do their research before, we believe that nobody should suffer at the hands of these professional scammers, so we reached out to other escort agencies we found out that they were abused as well on the same fake advertising directory, to let them know that their name was used on fake profiles. As we are interested in providing honest service, I am sure that no other genuine independent escort or escort agency would like to be advertised in a fake manner and having their reputation damaged.
You can find more on how to stay safe from this type of action fraud:
So, whoever put these pictures up also like making money off other people's hard work. Have they ever heard of false advertising? The text at the bottom of the website on the fake escort profile was kind of interesting as well, saying,
“who are waiting for your call. All the escorts listed are independent, and you call them directly” (Observe on the side picture)
This advertisement would help if you could get in contact with those independent escorts directly, but nobody is waiting on the other end of the phone. Therefore customers get major disappointment because they pay a premium for a rip off the bait and switch phone number that leads to nowhere.
Clients were seeing the London Privé watermark on the pictures and ringing us directly. We had nothing to do with this company, so we were disappointed and surprised to hear this and got to work immediately exposing these criminals.
One other crucial bit of information that was used to hide their cover was that they changed the name on the photo captions, thinking we would not find them that way, but we used google reverse search of the pictures.
We found that the photos were uploaded in July.
The first thing we did was contact crime stoppers to report the fraud because obviously there is something illegal going on, plus it is the right thing to do. We reported the issue to crime stoppers and the action fraud websites. We have nothing to hide and these crooks were apparently making money off the hard work of honest people. After we had reported the matter, we knew this was not the end of it, so we had to go a lot further to make sure the fake escort advertisements were taken down.
We took photos of all the offending pictures and used them to look up information about the company and gathered all that we could.
The company records
Pictures of the photos
Pictures of the directory
DNS records for the company
So we now have a complete set of evidence, including the offending URLs and the originals you that could be used for later. It is worth keeping photos just in case they were to put them back up once the spotlight was off. The address where advertising website business is registered (look at the side picture) brings up a lot of scams, so crooks must love it here: 1st Floor 2 Woodberry Grove, Finchley, London, England, N12 0DR.
You can read more about the same professional scammers registered on the same address here:
So now, instead of stealing people’s money through bad business dealings, they are using 07015 numbers to generate extra charges on your mobile bill.
We emailed the directory and had them to remove the London Privé fake profiles. We provided the links and told them to take them down, but they did not. We gave them an opportunity to take action and remove the false advertisements, plus we wanted to see how quickly they will make things right. But in our case, this was a dead-end as they did not want to take action and these were still up and running. Clearly showing all credibility of this advertising website is questionable.
We decided to take further action by contacting their hosting company according to their DNS records, but the hosting information was incorrect, which is normal if you have something to hide, luckily we did manage to get the current hosting information.
This is their correct hosting company:
CompuWeb Communications Services Limited (CWCS)
Company number: 3798604.
We contacted the hosting website and asked for them to get in touch with the scamming website and force them to remove illegal advertisements, however, they decided to ignore us as well. Hosts are required to take copyright information off their servers, or they could end up in serious trouble. Knowing that somebody is scamming people on their hosting servers, and doing nothing about it, is a criminal offence and they automatically become guilty of the same crime too, as they are helping out to scam people. We were obviously not happy with being ignored, so we sent a second email to let them know about all the bad links and copyrighted photos. This time they replied.
This is what DNS records look like:
Inetnum: 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124
The simple version of the pages that were taken down:
The offending website is https://escortdirectory-uk.com/
The offending pages are:
About three weeks later, we were successful as all the photos were removed. So if you are having the same problem, these are the steps to have fake or copied web pages removed from the internet:
1. Make sure that you take a picture copy of all the offending images or text.
2. Report it.
3. Gather all the information you can find, including IP addresses and DNS records.
4. Write to the site involved and ask them to remove it. If nothing happens, send them a second email, but do not ring them if it is a premium rate number.
5. Contact their host and report it to them and make sure you copy all the infringing URLs and originals.
At this point, you have done everything you can but do join in on forums and other places to get advice.
6. Send them a DMCA notice. You must include all the URLs where the text and photos are.
7. Ask the DMCA to help you out by paying for the takedown services or get legal help.
8. If you do a DMCA request make sure to add it to the Luman database.
A sample of DMCA letter to be sent to the hosting server of the offending site:
If nothing else works contact:
https://www.dmca.com/Takedowns.aspx and pay for URL takedown which will work 100%.
London Privé prides itself in advertising genuine ladies and gentleman; we make sure that they look like pictures, that they are polite and with warm personalities. Fake websites and scammers will inevitably pop up from time to time because they come with being in an online territory. However, every other genuine service providers and we need to be aware of the steps to remove scam websites from the internet to make sure that our privacy and reputation are safe. By following the advice above will ensure that potential clients are coming across legitimate websites and that they provide the service they claim to offer.
I would like to thank all people that helped us, including heart internet and scam advisor.