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Advice regarding a potential internet scam...?


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#1
Golden Butterflies

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Okay, so first off I'd like to apologize if this isn't the right place. I couldn't figure out where this belonged, and didn't want to post it in Web Browsers and Email because that seems to deal mostly with applications not general online issues.

Now. The problem. I occasionally visit virtualpiano.net, but it was down and I Googled for alternatives. One of the alternatives I found, thevirtualpiano.com, is something I've used before - months ago, when it wasn't a 'sign in to use it' type service. I went about using it as I'd remembered to, but when I tried to change a setting it said access to that feature was reserved for members. It also said "best of all - it's FREE" so I figured, whatever. I'll direct it to the email address I associate with game accounts (rather than my real life stuff).

When I went to sign up, it had a link to the terms of service. I clicked, and it just said to contact the site or something like that. I got the feeling it was a 'coming soon' thing since this was a change from how I remembered the site being. Probably stupidity on my part, yeah, but it's a virtual piano. I didn't think there'd be any issue, you know?

Now, the sign up process asked for a first and last name as well as an email address and a password. I (probably thankfully) never use the same password for an account that I use for the things I attach to the email address, so if it was think kind of phishing then I should be completely safe. I also put in a fake name, "Nunya Smith," because... virtual piano service has no business knowing my real name when it's a supposedly free account. Since there wasn't any terms of service, it's not technically like I broke any rules there so...

Anyway. The next page after signup, the one that says to wait for a validation link via email, called it a subscription. And that just set all manner of warning bells off in my head so I did not click the validation link - or any other link - in the email I received. At first, I was thinking that it might be a gateway to all manner of spam mail. Then I Googled the login system it said they used, SentryLogin. Some of the hits came up mentioning PayPal, so... I kind of am freaking out here, scared to death that I'm going to be hunted down by IP Address or something silly like that as "owing money" for this bleeping thing that said in giant letters that it was free.

However, like I said, I used a fake name and an email address that doesn't have any associations to my real life accounts (banking, online stores, etc). I haven't, nor has it, been anywhere near PayPal with personal details. There was once a facebook account with that email address, but it was set to "only me" and private. It was created just to play facebook games, which I found disappointing; I completely deactivated the account in under 24 hours.

Should I be safe, so long as I don't do anything with the confirmation email? It claimed I was "Member Account Number 344468," and that's a lot of people, but I do tend to get paranoid. If you were in my position, would YOU be worried, or just delete/archive the message and never look back?
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#2
sari

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If you never gave them any Paypal information, they can't possibly get money for anything, and it's highly unlikely they would track you down by IP address (many people use dynamic IPs anyway, which could make that problematic). I didn't go through the complete signup at that site, but it appears to me that they just offer more features if you subscribe, and you don't get ads. The one thing I find problematic about the site is that they don't have a Terms of Use or Privacy Policy that you click on and read, which should be part of joining any site. Instead, you're directed to contact member support for that information, and they provide no link to do so. I think your information is perfectly safe, since you didn't give them anything that's related to your real life, but I wouldn't become a member of a site that didn't publicly post a TOS or Privacy Policy prior to signing up.
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#3
Golden Butterflies

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Thanks! It's good to have someone else put it into a better perspective than my "oh crap" moment.

You're right about the lack of a privacy policy or terms of service. In retrospect, I wouldn't want to sign up for the site for those reasons, either. And that's part of why, when it hit me in the face like a brick wall, I decided against using the confirmation/validation link sent to me. Really, it was just far too early in the morning for me to be making any sort of decisions regarding privacy and/or safety. :blush:
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#4
sari

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While I can't find anything overtly malicious about the site, neither can I find any real recommendations for the product either. It may just be a poorly-run site, but why take chances? I think since you didn't click the confirmation link, you should be okay, as you haven't completed the registration process.
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#5
Ferrari

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It may just be a poorly-run site, but why take chances?

I agree.

I did a quick google search for "virtual piano websites" and there seemed to be numerous results, one stating "9 Websites To Play Piano Online". The best thing about the web is that if you don't like a certain website, you can probably find another just as good if not better. So like Sari said, why take chances, if the site seems scammish, weird, inadequate, glitchy, poorly run, etc... then just move onto the next, why take chances. You know?

Hope that helps. :thumbsup:
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