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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The College Survey Scam

College students are a population that can reliably be characterized as “poor” and “constantly in need of money”; I am no exception. While this is unfortunate enough in itself, even worse are the existence of scams designed to prey off this demographic. I got an email today from a “James Scott” (very likely a fake name) from, claiming to offer summer part-time work for college students:

Our market research program offers competitive payment for participants in 
simple on-line surveys and evaluations. Our Internet-based program is designed
as a part-time job with a flexible schedule.

Sounds innocuous enough in itself. But if you actually go to the website, you’ll find that the direction of money flow isn’t as expected: first you have to sign up for their program and pay a $29.99 fee. This should send up a red flag for any individual with half a brain. Indeed, a quick inspection of the email headers reveals some questionable tidbits.

Received: from ([] helo=ee)
by with esmtpa (Exim 4.69)
(envelope-from <>)
id 1OSdhB-0000Mh-42

The email was sent from some Bulgarian cable ISP. If you do an nslookup on the domain, you’ll find that its address ( is registered to a Bulgarian webhost.

If you plug that IP address into whois, you’ll find that this domain is registered in Bulgaria. Maybe this James Scott guy is some clever American entrepreneur who’s decided to set up shop in southeastern Europe. More likely, it’s just a lowlife, unemployed Slavic scumbag looking to get rich (like that will ever happen).

If I didn’t have better things to do (and if I could actually speak Bulgarian), I’d be giving that ISP (and the scam’s payment processing company) a nice long call. Ah well…just don’t fall for it!

P.S.: On the website they list a US contact address: “10685-B Hazelhurst Dr., Houston, Texas 77043 US”. In any case, this is still highly suspect…

P.S. 2: They also claim to have 24/7 customer support. Wouldn’t hurt to shoot ‘em a message and see just how fake they are.

uTorrent IPFilter Updater 1.5.8 released

This is an incremental update that restores functionality with the downloads. The source code has been reworked for full Python 3.1+ compatibility, and the EXEs are now built with cx_freeze. Download the new version here: