Scammed by SEO fraudster – be warned

Don’t get scammed by this SEO fraudster

Scammed by SEO fraudster
Scammed by SEO fraudster — Image by Pixabay

I’ve been scammed by an SEO fraudster — a trusted blogging friend — be warned and beware! I. am. so. bloody. angry. An unusual post for me, you might think. But I believe my fellow bloggers should be aware.

I’d been blogging for about eight months and was plodding along nicely, happy with the steady stream of new readers. Then I noticed (let’s call her) Debby, who’d started to comment regularly on my posts. One message read “Reading brings us unknown friends they say. And after reading all of your posts I have the feeling I’ve known you for a lifetime.”

In hindsight, I think Debby baited me with her kindness and flattery? She told me how good my site looked and that my content was great. That should have set my alarm bells ringing, right? But Debby had already done some great work for another really trusted longer-term blogging friend and massive influencer. She’d been happy with the outcome and alarm never entered my head.

I believe Debby hooked me when she suggested “submit your website to my free backlink builder and web submission service.” Whatever that all meant? But no doubt, her clever use of the word ‘free’ had me reeled in and in effect, she’d ‘done me up like a kipper‘.

SEO’s a foreign language

Backlinks score and social media marketing are bad
Backlinks score and social media marketing are bad — Pixabay

Debby later reported how much work my blog needed (scary) but that she could easily fix it (phew)!

Since I’ve no idea about SEO, Focus keyphrase, optimizing Meta Tags or Descriptions, or HTML, Debby’s help was appreciated. Her comment “your backlinks and backlinks score, and social media marketing” was just as confusing, until I read “are all bad.”

Still, Debby said “not to worry, I can fix all that, it won’t take too long and it won’t cost much.” I was sold. I paid her first request of £200 via Paypal, and Debby started work on my blog. She kept in contact every couple of days, and after a few weeks, she showed me how she’d changed my hyperlinks (?) She said many of mine were doubled up due to “My journey through a psychotic depression” posts I-IX.

“This of course is not good from an SEO perspective,” said Debby, “and could potentially devastate your rankings.” Ah, this I understood — sort of.

Then I got sick

I was mentally and physically ill
I was mentally and physically ill — Image Pixabay

Debby went on to tell me what else was needed and said the next part would cost £250 and could I pay it via Paypal again. I did so on 21st July. Debby only contacted me twice after that, both emails being advice related, explaining things I could be doing on my blog. I wasn’t well physically or mentally, and told Debby I’d get onto these tasks as soon as I was feeling better. I said I was happy for her to continue with what she was doing.

Within about ten day, I hadn’t see any changes to my blog and I never heard from Debby again — despite several emails asking if she was okay. When I still got no response, my concern for her well-being grew. I contacted my Influencer friend who tried to get in touch with Debby on my behalf, to no avail.

I think I’ve given it long enough now to know I won’t hear from Debby again, and I’m bloody angry! My anger and tears are no doubt born out of sheer frustration and sadness. Frustration because of the time and energy I’ve had to spend, and sad because people can be so damn sh*tty! More than that though, I’m so effin’ angry for letting myself be fooled. And of course, at the loss of my money.

Scammed by yet another online fraudster

I was scammed by online fraudster
I was scammed by online fraudster — Image Pixabay

Long story short, I’ve also been scammed by online fraudsters to the tune of £473.76 over three months. I only noticed it on my bank statement because they used a store I haven’t used since circa 1993. You can tell I’m really not good at checking my bank balance regularly.

I’ve now had to cancel my card, change my passwords for online banking and other online stores I use.

My bank manager is looking into whether they can refund this money at least. In the meantime, and on the bright side, without a card I’m unable to spend as haphazardly as I usually do.

Carry on blogging – now there’s a big question

Image ClipArt

Obviously having been scammed, I was unsure about continuing my blog. I didn’t believe I could feel any worse. Yet after reading a good friend’s blog about whether post size matters, I’m now thinking my blog posts are too long. And I wonder if I’m doing anything right. Apparently long posts are too long to concentrate on for some and their attention can waiver.

A comment mentioned that if we can’t be bothered to cut our own words, why should others bother to read them! Another said they’d read if the content was good.

Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with the post or the comments and I simply can’t fault the writers. The post raised perfectly valid questions and attracted perfectly valid comments. The fact is, the post was brilliant because it made me question myself and my own posts. The trouble is, I don’t like my answers.

Since becoming a bit more au fait with stats and insights, I can see monthly comparisons and my likes and comments have changed. They’ve gone down steadily month by month. So, is it because I’m too wordy and full of myself, making my posts too long or is it that my content’s crappy?

Moreover, lots of odd things have been happening with my blog and because a certain person had access to it, I’m becoming more paranoid. Now some of these oddities might be WordPress nuances, and perhaps I ought to have contacted a ‘Friendliness Engineer’. But the odd things happening are many, and I just don’t have the energy any more.

Last minute thoughts

Perhaps blogging is impacting on my mental health. Maybe I’m spending too much time, sometimes days due to lack of concentration, researching, writing, and editing. Perhaps I’m overwhelmed by the amount emails I respond to each day or the many blogs I’m reading, and commenting on.

Posting angry letters to myself

Trust me, I’m not seeking sympathy. I suppose I’m seeking clarity of mind. When I was first ill mentally, I’d write angry letters to my ex and post them 2nd class to myself. I’d receive the letters a few days later and read over them, thanking God that I hadn’t sent them to him. Things always seemed much clearer when I read all this stuff days later. Let’s see.

Author: mentalhealth360.uk

Mum to two amazing sons. Following recovery from a lengthy psychotic episode, depression, anxiety and anorexia, I decided to train as a Mental Health Nurse and worked successfully in various settings before becoming a Ward Manager. I am a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a Mental Health Awareness Trainer, Mental Health First Aid Youth and Mental Health Armed Forces Instructor. Just started my mental health from the other side blog.

88 thoughts on “Scammed by SEO fraudster – be warned”

  1. If you paid via PayPal, and if you paid for services (rather than just sending her money directly, like to a friend), you’re covered under PayPal buyer protection.

    Oh no, don’t let scammers get you down!! They’re horrible, worthless people!! I’ve been scammed in the past too!! It bites!! Ugh.

    I have no idea how long a blog post should be!! I’ve never thought about it!! I think your length is fine!! Your posts are very interesting!!

  2. I got caught in the popularity of comments and likes and it sucked the joy out of writing for me. Made me question my own ability to write, to discuss my feelings. I mean, if someone can get 100 likes for a two sentence Tweet they’ve labeled a blog post. obviously the problem is my long rants and inconsistent content.

    Except it’s not. People are fickle, people have short attention spans, and sometimes people are just bored by serious topics like mental health disorders.

    Truly sorry you got scammed. Please don’t let this rob you of writing in your own voice, your own way, long or short posts. Then they get your money and your joy if you change or stop writing.

  3. I remember noticing something weird when Debby started lurking. The first red flag was when I happened to notice that the avatar switched from being Mark to Debby. When you first mentioned that you were working for her, I figured maybe my spidey senses were off. That really sucks that she ripped you off like that.

    As for post length, I’m one of those people who sometimes find it hard to concentrate on long posts, but I have no problem at all with your posts, because you break them up really well. And in terms of SEO, if that even matters, longer is generally better.

    My sense is that WordPress has slowed down in general. It’s a bit hard to tease out in my stats because it’s partly masked by an increase I’ve had in search engine traffic, but I’m pretty sure the blogging world is less active. So your drop in stats may not have had that much to do with your blog per se.

    If you want to run your blog oddities by me, just email you and I can let you know if I’ve experienced any of the same issues.

    1. Ah, I never saw the Avatar – damn! Scheming sh*tbag!

      Thanks for your input about SEO and post length Ashley, it’s much appreciated coming from you.

      Yes, Pooja on Life’s Fine Whine has just written a lengthy post on WordPress and how she’s been blocked from following more blogs and other nuances….. it’s worth a read if you haven’t seen it already! I’ve said to her not to give up and that we ought to fight this together – we pay for this service and WordPress doesn’t seem to care!

      1. I spoke with Debby Seo at length and after reading many pages of his text, called him out for being a guy. In fact, a called him out for the poor quality of his website when he was selling website packages if I recall correctly.

  4. Here’s two bottom lines!!!!!! Don’t care about SEO or anything else!!!!!! Just blog because you love it. Don’t worry about how long your post are, I know people who have years of experience and their post are longer. If you are into blogging to make a living, then enlist a know professional with lots of references. If not trying to make a living, like me, don’t give a shit!!!!!!! Sen=cond, contact PayPAl and disput the charges. You may have already doen this. It maynit help but you can at least try. Don’t stop blogging becuase of what anyone says.

    1. Thank you Melinda. I hadn’t bothered about SEO til I saw a drastic drop in stats each month – and I initially wondered if the scammer had ‘done’ something. It turns out there’s lots of major problems with WordPress and fellow-bloggers are complaining.

      Nope, I’ve no intention of making a living from blogging, it was just my way of 1. staying busy and 2. perhaps giving something back to the community and 3. making me feel useful again.

      I loved blogging and I know I will again — now I’ve written about, shared and got over that setback. I didn’t even tell hubby (at the time) cos I felt so stupid, and holding it all in just got to me.

      So, I’ll be back lol. Thank you so much for your input and wise words. x

      1. I hope I made you feel better. We blog because we wna to and the numbers will swing up and down just like followers will. Your blog is still very young and a lot can change things not to mention the crap with WP. WP is my nightmare and my avenue. I just started hearing about SEO and for me it doesn’t matter if I’m not trying to make a living or in a business. If writing for me or some change on the side the numbers don’t mean much. It’s better to follow less people and be genuine and have less follow you and be faithful. My blog is 15 years old and there a million things I could do but I had to ask myself for what. Any money spent, or time would outweigh the money loss. Be true to yourself first, even when you question yourself form time to time from year to year. Just chart your course and grow your blog. It’s your’s and you make it what you want. You doing a great job and reaching people with great information in a way people can understand. That’s important. What’s most importanat is that you are happy with what your writing. You may want to read up on other ideas about how to blog but don’t go crazy trying to do everything suggested. I have people I follow how are making a great living and runing a business thru the blog/website, they need SEO and all they can get to be competitive in a crowded market. Be gentle on yourself and carry on as the Brit’s say!!!!

      2. Oh you did, thank you. Yes, I guess things will change, numbers go up and down. And you’re right, following less people or having less followers who are loyal 🙂

        And of course, I don’t want to waste time and energy doing all this when I could be just writing, doing what I enjoy. Because I don’t get out much, writing and blogging — It’s my little lifeline and my little window in the world where I can engage with like-minded people. I don’t need competitiveness in my life, certainly not at my age lol.

        I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me, and I’ve taken all your wise words on board.

        I got myself too stressed out, anxious, tearful, and angry. I ought to know how much I need to maintain a stable mental state and be happy.

        So yes, I’m going to take it more slowly, be kind to myself and carry on 🙂

  5. Caz, you have the most fantastic blog. The length of a post does not matter. It’s the subject and the content that’s the most important. Your posts deal with all aspects of a subject and provide advice and insights that are extremely thoughtful and practical. So, keep on blogging, take time out, enjoy that cup of tea, we will still be here 🤗

    1. Thank you Sean and yes, I enjoyed several cups of tea, and coffee 🙂

      I really appreciate your kindness and support and I truly value your input. Your wise words have put it all into context so thank you.

      I’m off to put the kettle on now 😉

  6. Hey Caz, I just wanted to say I’m sorry you’ve had this horrible experience. I’ve enjoyed the posts of yours I’ve read. I’m definitely not an expert on SEO, but my guess is that Google is getting cleverer all the time in terms of directing people towards high quality content which they will find interesting/useful. In other words, I focus on writing content I feel proud of, and try not to worry about SEO, Likes, Comments or any other metrics like that. If you haven’t already, ask yourself what you want to get out of your blog… and focus solely on that. Take care.

    1. I hadn’t even thought of SEO until the scammer I call Debby came along lol. Now I’m over it all and I’m going to forget all about SEO.

      Like you, I want to write content I’m proud of and not be dictated by SEO, stats and other distractions. Thank you for your wise words Rock, much appreciated.

  7. Please don’t stop blogging!! I love your posts. But seriously if it is affecting your mental health it’s okay if you need break. If it makes you feel better I don’t know what an SEO even is. Keep your head up lovie. You have so much good to offer the world. 🥰

  8. Sorry to hear that. Don’t beat yourselves up on being fooled. We are all being scammed at bigger levels in politics, education systems, corporates and what not! Yes, it sucks. But don’t let it question your content. Don’t stop posting. Your posts are well structured and useful to many. Your blog is good. Sometimes, good things happen when you are not chasing it.
    PS: If I go by stats, I should have closed my blog long time ago. I don’t even have a topic 😛

    1. Thank you and nice to hear from you 🙂 Yes, definitely at higher levels and that can be depressing too!

      Yes, I’m going to concentrate on content rather that SEO and stats – it’s more fun and less stressful.

      PS Lol, you are funny 😛

  9. Your blog is great and everyone has seen a huge dip since coronavirus hit the planet. Please don’t stop blogging!

    But also, I’m so pleased you paid by PayPal because you can open a dispute and get your money back. I had to do this recently so happy to talk you through it if you get stuck. Happy to do it here on comments so it’s open and transparent and you’re certain no one else is doing a Debby on you.

    1. Thank you for being so kind and offering your help. I’ve done the Paypal thing but cos I foolishly paid it to ‘a friend’ as she asked, rather than for services received 🙁 Doh!

      Still, I want to move on and learn from it 🙂

      1. Nothing foolish about that. She asked you to, you were accommodating her. You were being nice.

        But yeah, you won’t ever get caught out like that. I hope she, on the other hand, does.

  10. The common theme here is *why* you blog in the first place. Do you really give a shit about SEO? I mean, as long as your blog ticks your “why” box, then surely, anything goes? Long posts, short posts?
    I do think that blogging should be a 100% positive experience, so if you think it is adversely affecting your health, something sounds wrong somewhere. If we’re not doing this because we enjoy it, then why *are* we doing it?

    1. You’re completely right P. I allowed Debby to ‘alert’ me to all the bad things, like SEO and got myself all stressed out.

      I’ve dealt with that now and I’ll learn from it. There’s no such thing as a bad lesson 😉 Now I’ll get back to writing about what I love and stick to writing content as best I can.

      You input is much appreciated, as always P 🙂

      1. I have run all my sites through an online tool which “marks” them in terms of hoe clean the underlying web page code is. The pages I write myself are easily 9/10 but the page WordPress produces is about 3/10. I can’t help thinking that SEO is a bit pie in the sky.

      2. I think it all depends whether you want to drive traffic to your site. If we’re not selling anything, why worry?
        I tell you what does interest me, though. WP say they try to get the results right if somebody goes into the reader. For example, they search for poetry, and out pops your poem. I’d be interested how that works. But not really interested enough to find out, yet! But of course all that is internal to WP, nothing to do with SEO. I suspect it might be as dumb as using specific category names.

      3. Lol, I’m definitely not selling. Speaking to other bloggers, they’re having the same stuff happening with WP. Like it’s unfollowing us from other blogs and it’s unfollowing people from our blogs. It doesn’t allow you to like more than a few blogs on reader apparently – not that I use reader? So I’m not sure how that works either 🙁

        As for category names!! Don’t get me started. I wanted to stop all that but Debby said if I do that now, it will change lots of things on my site. I daren’t delete anything cos I’m scared of what might happen. I’m a real technophobe! So I’ll just keep writing cos that’s all I know on this flippin’ thing! 🙂

      4. Eek! Categories are just like folders, or subjects. You can put a post in one, or none at all, or even 2 or 3 if you think that’s appropriate. I like to do that th organise stuff. My site, I probably have a hundred folders, stuff like “prompt responses” or “stroke” or something. You can create them willy-nilly, plus you can have categories under categories, subfolders if you like.

      5. It all drives me nuts. If you look at my category dropdown thingy, it seems to go down off the page so I can’t read all what’s on there. I can’t even explain it properly, let alone work out how to use it.

        If I’ve tried to add a category, it ends up along the top on the (is it called ) menu? not under category.

        I don’t know whether I should put things in alphabetical or chronological order. And I can’t find an easy way of moving things around in the categories.

        I think I’m going to have to do some reading. But I can’t find the words I need to google – like “make category changes” or “move things in categories” Doh!

        Maybe I’ll just stick to writing 🙂

  11. I don’t always read every blog I’m sent, simply due to time and too many just plugging books, but I often read your blogs. Nothing jumps out that they are too long, they are fine.

    Please don’t consider stopping blogging,

    Paul

  12. Oh bloody hell, Caz, I’m so sorry and so damn angry on your behalf! Fraudsters and scammers are very clever. They’ve had practice to hone their vile skills of deception, so falling for it doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means these evil arses have nothing better to do with their time but practice ripping people off. Is there any way, given as that it was via Paypal, to submit a request to them? I’ve had run ins with Paypal recently though that make me think Paypal probably wouldn’t be very helpful. I’d personally never pay anyone to help with SEO. A company, a reputable one with good reviews, very very maybe but still unlikely. There’s lots of free, reliable info and advice online (even though I’m not really getting anywhere with improving DA either). We love your blog as it is and if you’re up to making a few tweaks then great, but if not don’t sweat it. This is your space to do as you wish, but don’t let it make you more poorly with the stress of it. xxxx

    1. Thank you my lovely and you put a smile on my face lol.

      Nope, Paypal can’t help – been onto that one already 🙁

      I hadn’t even know about damn SEO until the lovely (let’s call her) Debby charmed her way into my easily flattered and gullible psych. Well not any more, and I’m so over SEO or any other gimmicks!

      I’m just going to continue writing cos that’s what I love and it doesn’t stress me out like SEO!

  13. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this! It’s terrible when you think someone is your friend and has your back and then they’re just gone. SEO is such a mystifying topic, I can see why you’d want someone to help you with the details. Just so you know, though, I’ve never found your posts too long. I’ve learned a lot from you, especially the posts that explain the objective truth behind often misrepresented mental health topics.

  14. Hi sir/medam! I am an SEO expert in fiver. Do you want to promote any of your products? Want to promote any of your official websites? And want to be on the 1st page of Google ranking Then you can contact me. And of course I will be providing you services at a lower price than other vendors. Below is my fiver link to contact me. Thanks.

    My fiver link

    1. If you’d read any of my posts, you’d see that I don’t sell any products. And I’m not sure I’m ever going to be on the first page of Google ranking!

      You didn’t send the link!

  15. im sorry that I have only read this now. So behind at the moment..

    Im sorry you have been through this Caz, I can imagine It has knocked you. No one should be made to feel like this.

    Your posts, in my opinion, are perfect as they are. Length included. I have learned so much from you in such a short space of time, when I have needed it the most. I have read them with great interest.

    I’ve never really taken notice of the stats before, maybe I should.

    I hope that you stick around, I for one would miss seeing your posts and comments.

    Take Care
    X

    1. Aaawww, thank you my lovely. Yes indeed, it was a horrible feeling but I’ve dealt with it now and I must move on.

      I really appreciate your supportive and encouraging words and I’m really happy to know that you find stuff of interest.

      The stats never bothered me until my numbers dropped drastically but having spoken to others, there’s been a lot of similar problems on WordPress 🙁 It’s best you don’t get bogged down with them, and as for me, I’m never touching SEO again lol.

      Nice to hear from you and having had a break, I’ll be writing and posting again soon. You look after yourself and thank you again. Caz x

  16. I feel absolutely awful this happened to you and I feel even more awful that I didn’t see that she was nothing more than a scammer. But please don’t give up on blogging. Think of this as a stepping stone- you learnt a lesson from this and now you can move on and be a better blogger. Also please don’t give up on SEO because actual SEO has helped me get thousands of more views a month.

    As for your WP problems I’m pretty sure something is going on with the platform and it’s experiencing a lot of glitches that they are refusing to admit or address. I recently found out that some of the blogs that follow my blog are automatically being removed from my followers list and they told me they had to re-follow my blog. I don’t trust WP at all anymore and I am so glad I’m moving to a self-hosted site.

  17. It’s clear from some of the above comments that others had their reservations about Debby/Paul, and I wish I’d known this. Obviously, she did some great work for you so of course you’d have no idea what she was up to – you have no reason to feel bad Pooja. But yes, I’ve certainly learnt from it, I gave myself a bit of a breather and have now moved on 🙂 I won’t give up completely and I’ll be in touch soon cos I know you now do SEO, and I certainly trust you my lovely.

    You’re right about WordPress and I’ve had similar problems. If it continues, I can’t see me staying with them!!

  18. I’m so sorry to read that you have been scammed. I hate scammers. Big hugs! I’m glad they didn’t get more of your money or wipe out your entire savings. Have you checked with Paypal if you can chargeback the scammer? You actually can do that within a short period of 180 days. Check this out: https://www.paypal.com/my/webapps/mpp/paypal-buyer-protection

    If you ever need services like SEO stuff, go through legit freelancer platforms like Upwork. The platform will “hold” your money in an escrow account and only releases the money once you vet and approve the work.

    1. Thanks Kally. I have checked out Paypal but because I foolishly paid the money to a ‘friend’ I don’t think there’s much they can do. I have written though.

      Yes, that’s a great idea about a legit platform, not that I’ll be doing any more SEO tho’. I just want to move on 🙁

      Thanks again 🙂

  19. goodness, Caz, my heart goes out to you. really, I can see this happening to anyone, especially someone new to blogging. the only reason I’d have most likely avoided it is because I’m so damned cheap lol & I don’t have much $ anyway. so sorry, dear. truly hope this doesn’t put you off to blogging. as for what works & doesn’t, some places say one should keep posts short, another says to make them long… we’re all just guessing in the end. the only thing I can say for sure is that one is never finished learning & that the whole thing is constantly evolving anyway. as for my humble opinion, you’ve got a lovely site. as for SEO, the thing I hear most is that things take a while to register on the search engines. you are welcome to reach out to me if you’ve even got something specific to ask — not that I’ll necessarily know the answer, but I’ll try. I’m best reached via email – ContacdaAL@gmail.com – & while I’m here, let me add that I’d be much obliged if you’d be so kind as to guest blog post for my site — if you’re so inclined, here’s a link to general guidelines: https://wp.me/p6OZAy-1eQ – wishing you only the best, dear <3 ah, & almost forgot to add that I much appreciate your sharing your story so that the rest of us might learn from it too 🙂

    1. Aaaww, thank you for your support and your kind comments. I appreciate your feedback about my site together with the offer of help. I’ll take a look at your link as I would love to do a guest post. Is there something in particular you’d like me to write?

      Stay safe and well, Caz x

      1. anything that catches your fancy – once it’s on my site, you can reblog it to yours, so it’ll get double use 🙂

      2. Hi, not sure if you saw the message I posted on your site earlier today. I have a post ready that I can email to you. It’s a word doc so hope this is okay. Caz 🙂

  20. oh & one last thing – did you mention this to WordPress? dunno, but might be something they can do something about at least for future?

    1. I have to be honest, I hated interviews for promotion within the same unit – they always picked their friends for the jobs despite the fact that I was acting manager on all the worst wards,. I worked with the teams to improve the ward then Nurse Directors gave the post to someone else 🙁

      I always had the last laugh 🙂

      1. Thank you so much. And my heart goes out to you. I’m sorry you endured such horrid behavior. Know that their actions and words say more about their lack of character than they ever say about you.

      2. Aaww, thank you Cherie. Nursing seemed to hold lots of bullies. You know, the very career they go into to care for and care about, then they bully their colleagues.

        And you’re right, it says a lot about them!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.