Sunday, July 26, 2015

WallPart Poster Shop Scam

A lot of folks and artist friends are getting rightfully upset over what at first appears to be a blatant rip-off of their images & artwork by an online company calling itself "WallPart." I was alerted by another artist in town yesterday that they were using some of my own work, as you can see from the screen-grab posted above. But with some judicious poking around it became fairly clear that this effort is in fact just a false front, in effect a massive trolling that is set up to scam people. The images shown are the result of a Google search after you enter in the artist's name, and it is a ruse intended to elicit a response. They don't physically exist anywhere, and they also aren't actually selling anything either. Via An Italian Brony comes a breakdown of some of the warning signs:
The counter is just an image, as it is permanently stuck at 3.614 buyers.
There’s a system that mimics a Google App to do images search over the web, that thus doesn’t use an inner database where the images are stored, but rather launches a search on Google Images depending on what words you put in the search box (meaning that the site is actually not hosting the images or have them saved in an inner database, but that they do a Google search of the wrods you search and shows the results).

If you try to buy some of these photos (as they tried to do, as they registered on the site and tried to buy something), once you’ve loaded your cart, they do not request your credit card to finalize the buy. (You just can’t simply buy anything from there, because it doesn’t give you the option to put your credit card number and finalize the purchase.)
Besides the laughably broken English and text riddled with typos being a red flag, Peter & Company has more dire warnings:
- Their “Report Violation” link is actually a 100% phishing form. If you fill it out, no matter what you put there, you will be sending them a LOT more than you anticipated. This is actually the main purpose for the site’s existence – they completely anticipate artists being upset about their work supposedly being sold, so they developed a system to exploit those who complain. 
So stay well away, don't visit the website, don't even link to it, and make sure all your artist friends don't fall for the scam.

UPDATE: Since posting this warning, visits to the blog quadrupled with - no coincidence - the overwhelming new traffic coming from our Russian neighbors. Добро пожаловать!

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