Since mid-December, Posner Advertising and a host of other agencies have been under attack! Somebody pretending to be an agency rep has undertaken an ambitious scam involving media buys. Posner has posted a paragraph on their website – assuring clients that the FBI is on the case:
“Attention media companies: Please be advised that an offshore entity has been impersonating Posner Advertising and is pretending to be purchasing media for clients unknown to us. This entity has reserved a strikingly similar, but illegitimate, URL to ours: www.posnerpromotion.com and is attempting to place web-based media and asking for payment terms. A fictitious representative of this company, Alvin Ortiz, is calling media owners, purporting to be one of our media buyers.”
The thing is – that secondary URL (www.posnerpromotions.com) looks like it is owned by Posner itself. However, this Ortiz fellow falsified details to make it look that way in WhoIs directories to assure ad networks that he was legitimate. He also went so far as to have the URL redirect to the Posner main page. Crazy right? He then went on to place false media buys for real banner ads for companies like Skype. The whole house of cards came tumbling down when one ad network, who has direct buying rights for Skype, was contacted by Ortiz.
According to a spokesman, Posner has been contacted by four online networks with suspect media buys ranging from 15-20K per outlet. Exposing the company to 80K worth of fraudulent claims. Ortiz and whomever he is working appear to be located outside of the U.S., though that cannot be confirmed.
This isn’t the first time that someone has tried such a stunt. Innovative Marketing also got snagged by the FTC for allegedly creating fake agencies to place crooked buys. The FBI and the FTC are both involved and are sorting out just who this Alvin Ortiz is.
You’ve been warned.