How Download Fraudsters Successfully Work – and What to do About it

Non serious persons lure users with cost free downloads. One click later, and you’ve signed up for a two year subscription you never wanted and you never ordered. Now you’ve lost € 190. Can this be? Not really! LG2G will show you their tricks and how you can protect yourself. And when they remain undeterred, get a lawyer!


Overview: Minors, How to Protect yourself in case of Online Fraud, Closing Down Sites like, Conclusion

Mikey, while on, a site that offers some illegal and some legal music downloads, saw on the top of the page the words “Always use the current client for more speed and most security.” Below this sentence were some links to allegedly free downloads. The links did not lead to the programmer’s website but to After a few clicks more, he had the requested software. In order to download, he had to submit his physical address and register himself. The catch 22 to this registration was that the software cost € 8 a month, or 96 Euro per year. This was “easily” noticeable by the tiny note on the right of the registration form. Mickey did not recognize this as proof that it was a contract that could not be immediately canceled.

Even more cagey, the advertisement is camouflaged as a windows message or update messages on a website informing you that your Acrobat Reader needs to be updated. Such fake windows messages are typically created like suppressed pop-up windows in your browser: a yellow shaded line of text on the top of your browser – active X components, which many persons simply overlook. That is why it is important to hinder such functions – Firefox e.g. does not even support active X.

But also careful surfers are prone to such fraudulent approaches. These conartists are best of friends with search engine optimization (SEO). They cleverly backlink one to another and can therefore often be found at top positions in search results of Google and co. This remains true when even trustworthy sites offer you search functions through the local use of an online search engine (provided by these companies as a service to you not their advertisers).

All generally interesting topics are effected: be it downloads, songs, recipes, lyrics, homework, dating. You search and they have a website relating to this topic. All such frauds have a very similar approach: Something free is being offered, a registration is nevertheless required. There might a remark on costs and then next to or amidst the registration form but in such style that it just has to be overlooked. When money is addressed, then only as a monthly or annual fee but never the subscription itself. Two parties earn on this scheme. First, the site operator earns a commission of 15 - 25% when a contract is closed. That is why these rip-off sites utilize such tricks as described above. The site-owners have little risk to fear as the persons betrayed seldom go to court because they would have to admit they had visited sites that also offer illegal contents …

Another lucrative income source for the site providers are “useless hotlines”. You dial a toll number, get connected to taped, friendly female voice, informing to remain in the line until the connection to a call agent is made, until after some time to experience that the recipient is not available and the line is conked. Even when the toll number is only a 01805-number, costing the caller 14 cents / minute, some cents per minute still land in the site provider’s bank account.

The last major method of cheating people is sending out an invoice and demanding payment. Okay, you entered a fake address but your eMail was real. Remember you received the login details per eMail… They collected your IP address during registration. Consider that every time you visit a website the host can collect the coordinates in the web who is contacting because any communication between computers requires the exchange of IP addresses. Due to storage of telecommunication data (Vorratsdatenspeicherung) they could to be able to get your real physical address from the prosecuting authorities. Nonsense! They are only bluffing. The BVerfG held in its judgment of March 2008, that it is permissible that the providers have to store telecommunication connections for a half year. However, these data are only intended for the prosecuting authorities and not for Dick and Harry. The prosecuting authorities only have the right to access these data for “serious crimes”. Such serious crimes are “computer fraud” and other betrayals in the internet but only in as much as a financial loss of a greater dimension are caused or for cases of continued commission of fraud where many persons are harmed. In other words, the law is actually against these crummy betrayers.

How to Protect yourself in case of Online Fraud

LG2G has collected some helpful hints to keep you on the safe side. First of all, whenever you want to get something for free please triple check that there are really no catches! Don’t forget Samaritans that just want to give away for free hardly exist. Check the STC of the site for any fees or payment expected. Save the STC as a PDF on your computer (or at the very least save the file under save as… in your browser). Consider that you can close valid contracts online. When you receive an unexpected invoice make sure that you really closed a contract with the invoicing company.

After you have received the invoice and do not pay, they will first send a reminder. After that they will at some hire a collection agency. Now is the time to train your nerves! They will start turning the thumbscrews on you with false threats like giving false personal details is crime. Do not forget that collection agencies are toothless tigers! Even when their tone becomes really rude, avoid any and all communication! When you start insulting the person on the phone, then your approach is a legal backfire: insult is a crime (§185 StGB). When you now communicate with them you could be caught off guard and give away real data. They need real data to take you to court.

The chances that they will really go to court are clearly tending towards zero. The chances are so slim because they then will have to prove their claim. In other words, they will have to show that a clear and eye-catching notice informed the future customer that a contract will closed that will contain certain mutual obligations. A judge will carefully test every of their allegations. More needs not to be said. However, in relation to courts and damages for late payments, it is only permissible to collect from the person late in paying either the fees of a collection agency or a lawyer – both are illegal. When you get a “Mahnbescheid (Court Reminder)”, you have 14 days to contradict. The court will add to this payment order a form called “Einspruch (objection)”. This is the form to fill out and return to the court. Keep in mind, the court never tests the case in such quick proceedings. This is why you have two chances to object. For more details to this please click this sentence.


Minors need the permission of their parents to close a contract. And parents are only responsible for their children when they are remiss their supervision duties. How much they are obligated to supervise their kids in the internet is questionable – leaving out the question if they even have to monitor their offspring’s internet activities.

Closing Down Sites like

In 2008 Der Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen (Federation of German Consumer Organisations) admonished multiple times, i.a. for not showing the end price, unreasonable disadvantage the consumer with its STC. A criminal case was opened on the grounds of wrongly alleging that not giving the correct birth date constitutes a fraud (§263 StGB). Until the judgments have been passed down, time will have passed. Anyhow, a new site with a similar name is quickly setup.


Websites like offer you nothing that you cannot legally and really obtain for free at other websites.

Additional information