Newest Internet Deception – Fake Product Keys

Most of us have seen examples of Internet deceptions, including get-rich quick schemes from Nigerian “bankers,” pyramid marketing schemes, Ponzi schemes and fake cashier’s checks for goods you are trying to sell. Now a new deception has appeared: selling fake Product Keys for popular software made by Microsoft, Norton and others.

Software is validated with a 25-character string of letters and numbers that authenticates programs and/or applications that you are installing on your personal computer. Major software developers provide these keys to persons who have made valid purchases of their products. The keys, once used, can never be used again. That prevents unscrupulous buyers from simply passing around software disks and authentication keys to friends and relatives.

Here is how the deception works. A web site will tell you that if you borrow a software disk from a friend, relative or associate at work you can install it on your home computer. All you need is a Product Key to validate the installation. The seller will offer to sell you a Product Key for as little as $9.99–no tax or shipping expense. If you look carefully, however, you will see that the seller operates out of China (“cn” in email address) and has an email address that includes zhoujianan777, junzhu, *XuFengGuo* or **guoxufeng**. The most prolific seller of invalid Product Keys uses xu, feng and guo in various combinations to establish new email addresses to receive money through PayPal. PayPal is aware of Product Key problems but so far has been unable to shut down their operation or institute chargebacks.

Here are steps you can take to avoid buying a fake Product Key:

1. Deal only with established software companies in the USA. Stay clear of sellers operating in China, Nigeria, Russia and other East European countries.

2. The software company must have a legitimate address and phone number in the USA.

3. If buying software or Product Keys, check with the manufacturer to make sure that the seller is a legitimate retailer for their products. Microsoft will provide this information via phone 24/7/365.

4. Finally, remember that if a deal seems too good to be true it probably is a fake. Windows 7 Home Premium, for example, can be purchased legitimately at Wal-Mart for $99.99. There is no way that someone can sell a Product Key for Windows 7 for as little as $9.99.

Beware of the following web sites, created by ZenCart: