For those first getting interested in file-sharing, it can be a bewildering experience, with a huge array of software clients, sites and jargon to cut through. Make no mistake, it’s easy to take a wrong turn. Instead of ending up on Mininova or The Pirate Bay, novice users find themselves clicking their way to the dark side and ending up on a ‘scam’ site.
A ‘scam’ file-sharing site can operate in numerous ways, but in the end the aims tend to be the same. They either try to offload malware or, more commonly, try to part the site visitor from his cash by getting him to sign up to access the site with his credit card. Usually, users pay a relatively small amount in the first instance, say $5-$10 per month. However, it’s not unusual for additional charges to start appearing on the victim’s card at a later date. Canceling the agreement with the scammers can be a nightmare.
In return for the money paid, the user usually gains access to a basic meta-search site, which simply searches and offers results from completely free sites such as Mininova or The Pirate Bay. Millions of unsuspecting people are signing up for these scam sites (often advertised by ‘legitimate’ BitTorrent sites), and have done for some years now.
One of the most famous scam sites is FullReleases.com, which has been in operation for a few years now and has generated a fortune for its owners and a whole lot of misery for its ‘customers’. Today, those victims have reason to celebrate since the owners of the site have had their identities revealed and, related or not, most of the sites they operated are parked and not longer operational.
M. Dylewski and J. Dylewski are reportedly the sons of Polish immigrants who settled in Surrey, BC, Canada. After their successes running a pair of warez sites, in 2005 they created FullReleases.com and set about making their millions with false claims and misleading operations which targeted naive entrants to the file-sharing phenomenon. The site went on to become one of the world’s most famous scam sites, parting untold people from their cash and prompting thousands of complaints.
However, rumor has that the brothers didn’t stop with one site, and started to build an empire. Dozens more appeared, with some deliberately named to trade on the successes of established genuine sites, with domains such as adultreactor, bitdig, releases.ws and rapidsharereactor.
Right now, many of these sites have been taken down, including FullReleases.com, and although this in itself won’t get refunds for those that have been scammed already, it will certainly give them a boost. It is not 100% sure why all the scam sites are suddenly parked or offline, but it is likely that the brothers are enjoying an early retirement.
So how can people avoid getting sucked in by these scammers and others like them? It’s amazingly simple – NEVER pay to download torrents since they are always available for free, and for God’s sake, Google!