Beware WizAdwords.com

Yesterday IPWatchdog.com received a suspicious invoice from a vendor that we have never done business with by the name of WizAdwords.com. After investigating the matter on our end it seemed appropriate to provide this warning.

The Invoice, for what they claim is a “GoogleSEO Web Site” (shown below minus potentially identifiable information) says that our yearly subscription failed to auto renew. Not having any recollection of ever doing business with WizAdwords.com, alarm bells initially sounded.

 

WizAdwords.com Invoice

WizAdwords.com Invoice received by IPWatchdog.com

The Invoice also claims that without paying WizAdwords.com our site – IPWatchdog.com – will not appear in Google searches. I know that there are certain search engines that require a yearly payment or you do not show up in their search results, but I never remember paying to be included in the Google search database. Furthermore, the awkward terminology regarding blocking seemed strange: “Avoid blocking your website in Google. 5 days left to block” (notice the double space and no period at the end, both of which appear in the actual Invoice). Thus, further alarm bells sounded.

Upon investigation, we have been unable to find any evidence of a payment from IPWatchdog to WizAdwords.com. We have likewise been unable to find any evidence of a prior business relationship of any kind with WizAdwords.com.

Still further, although the Invoice claims that our yearly renewal failed, according to a WHOIS search performed using the website of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) the domain name WizAdwords.com was first registered on February 1, 2017. See screenshot.

It is a clever ploy to send a fake Invoice that claims billing auto renewal failed. Given the proliferation of identity theft related crimes, credit card numbers are revoked and reissued with increasing frequency. Many individuals and businesses will probably just assume this is a valid Invoice and make the payment without much consideration because, after all, being delisted or blocked from Google search can be crippling to any business.

Based on my investigation of the facts it is my opinion that the Invoice sent by WizAdwords.com is a scam. If anyone receives a similar Invoice I would encourage caution. At a minimum it is prudent to advise undertaking a similar investigation to determine whether any prior business relationship exists and whether payment is, in fact, due.

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7 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Aimee]
    Aimee
    June 7, 2017 01:47 pm

    Indeed, this has to be a scam. Google’s search engine results are not dependent on any form of payment, which is what raised the red flag for me when I got one of these. You cannot have your website “blocked” by Google for not paying this scam artist. Google does accept advertisers who use THEIR Google AdWords program to get their web addresses highlighted in the sidebar/top bar when people do certain keyword searches, but that program is a pay-per-click system, not an annual renewal.

  • [Avatar for Reggie]
    Reggie
    May 4, 2017 02:32 pm

    I have, in fact, used a company similar to this for 2 years. My automatic assumption was that it was an invoice from them. I followed through with the Paypal requests, but soon figured out it was a scam and initiated a dispute through PayPal, which was almost immediately approved and refunded back to me. Definitely a scam – beware

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    April 30, 2017 11:53 am

    Paul-

    I think you are right, at least based on my investigation and the opinions I’ve formed therefrom.

    When I did an initial search for WizAdwords I didn’t find much other than some of the usual forum sites raising questions. That’s why I decided to dig a little deeper and post something so as to hopefully save some folks.

    Cheers.

    -Gene

  • [Avatar for Vanessa]
    Vanessa
    April 29, 2017 06:37 pm

    Do not pay an invoice to WizAdWords.

  • [Avatar for Paul]
    Paul
    April 29, 2017 04:05 pm

    Gene, I just received an email from a client asking about a WizAdwords invoice pretty much identical to the one in your article. As in your case, I’ve never even heard of WizAdwords let alone ever used whatever “services” they offer for any of my web clients. The PayPal payment buttons in the invoice was a further tip off that this is a scam (a real service provider would remind you to log in to your account and make your payment there). Thanks for providing the explanation. I suspect that they’ve just recently started firing out these fake invoices so your blog post is likely to get some traffic in the coming days and weeks.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    April 28, 2017 10:25 am

    Jeff-

    We just received several fraudulent trademark bills with respect to our trademarks. One came from the Patent and Trademark Office, which is now apparently in Brooklyn, NY.

    -Gene

  • [Avatar for Jeff Lindsay]
    Jeff Lindsay
    April 28, 2017 04:08 am

    Ditto for all the trademark registration bills you will get once you get a US trademark. Some look very official, billing you hundreds or thousands of dollars to maintain your trademark in their vital international database.