Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Motive for Cloning a Website

A Florida personal injury firm is, understandably, upset that its website was cloned (with some minor changes) and put online on behalf of a fictitious firm based in Manchester, England.
Gordon & Doner is represented in the trademark infringement suit by Doner and Edward McHale of McHale & Slavin in Palm Beach Gardens. John Rizvi, a copyright attorney with Gold & Rizvi in Plantation who is not involved in the litigation, said he had never heard of a similar cyberhijacking.

"I'm trying to figure out a motive," he said. So are the attorneys at Gordon & Doner.

"Our lawyer, Michael Slavin, surmises that it may be a ploy to knock us down on Google," Doner said.
I expect that an investigation will uncover a different motive.

The fake website, maslinassociates.com, is registered to the email address, "maslinassociates@gentleiyke.com" That site, gentleiyke.com, is registered to an address in Engugu, Enugu, Nigeria. With a fake website for a law firm based in London, and an easily detected connection to Nigeria, the odds seem extremely high that the cloned law firm site was to be used to add credibility to a 419 scam. These scammers have a history of "borrowing" real names and logos, and of creating fake websites for "banks" and "lawyers" who are referenced in their letters and emails. Heck - a few years ago, they borrowed a logo from one of my sites. What easier way of getting a content-rich, credible looking website than to steal a real one? Another news article observes,
Indeed, an astute purveyor of legal services might have noticed that all was not right with Maslin & Associates. For instance, one of the photographs lifted from the Gordon & Doner law firm featured a tropical backdrop, not exactly typical of the famously gray English climate. And lawyers aren't known as "attorneys" in England: They go by the titles of solicitor or barrister.
If you've read any quantity of emails from 419 scammers, you know from the proliferation of spelling and grammatical errors that they're not particularly concerned that astute readers will catch on to the scam - that's a given. It's a volume business.


  1. You mean the e-mails I've received recently (two different, but similar ones) from the "FBI" telling me that they are confirming that I won an international lottery I didn't enter aren't legit . . .



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