Is IBCTravels a real way to travel and earn money, or is it just a clone of an existing scam?
There are a ton of income opportunities that advertises on the Internet, most of them promise great pay for little work, or even great pay and have fun (like travel). One recent entry into this arena is IBCTravels.
While the concept of making a great income with the tourism and travel industry is not a bad idea, the industry had been rocked several times in recent years by at least three scams:
- TVI Express, a self-claimed make money and travel opportunity, was declared by Australian Federal Court as a pyramid scheme, and outlawed by China, Indonesia, Lesotho, South Africa, and more.
- Zamzuu, aka YTB, or "Your Travel Biz", an opportunity that promised you to become an online seller of travel, was sued by state of California and state of illinois and forced out of both states after paying over a million in fines
- Business in Motion charged by Royal Canadian Mounted Police of being a pyramid scheme, offered travel sales opportunities to people, but paid on recruitment
It never hurts to take a deeper look at an opportunity. It's merely "due diligence".
So let's take a look at IBCTravels, and whether it stands up to scrutiny.
What does the domain name tell us?
If you search on who.is for IBCTravels.com, you will see the first warning sign: "Domains by Proxy".
Domains By Proxy, LLC
Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: IBCTRAVELS.COM
Domains by Proxy registered the domain in the original owner's place, so the owner's information will NOT be shown. If you go to the Godaddy lookup, it just gives you the address of this "Domains by Proxy" company, not the real owner.
Why would a legitimate company hide their ownership of a domain? That becomes quite apparent when you engage the "archive" function of the same who.is service.
The original registered owner of the website IBCTravels.com is "United TVI Express".
Searching other websites that archives domain records reveals that this was changed in March of 2012. Many websites archived the same info, so there is no doubt that "United TVI Express" owned "IBCTravels.com" then tried to hide it.
TVI Express was convicted in Australia of being a pyramid selling scheme. Is it just a coincidence or is this related?
If you research TVI Express, you will find that TVIexpress.com was at one time also hidden by "Domains by Proxy", for two years. Similar tactics.
United TVI Express registered the domain IBCTravels, then tried to hide it. That only made it even MORE suspicious, doesn't it?
Is "United TVI Express" related to "TVI Express" the scam?
Let us now check if there is any link between "United TVI Express" and "TVI Express", the scam prosecuted on multiple continents.
Searching for "United TVI Express" on Google yielded several results, such as a Facebook page, and a complaint in consumer complaints forum.
United Tvi Express
Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: IBCTRAVELS.COM
Created on: 02-Dec-11
Expires on: 02-Dec-12
Last Updated on: 02-Mar-12
Express, UnitedTvi email@example.com
United Tvi Express
The above registration info cannot be confirmed, as we don't have access to the raw info, only a copy, but it matches what we have before: United TVI Express. Mahe is the largest island in Seychelles, containing the capital Victoria. However, the address B-456 brought up nothing through Google search, not even anything close. Most addresses on the island use a "place name", so B-456 seem to be non-sense. The 6 digit number does not conform to any sort of postal code on Mahe (it should be 5 digits). All indications shows that the address is a fake or a virtual address.
Seychelles is an island just off of Africa that is famous for being a tax haven, where you can register a company as "offshore business" and avoid your native country's taxes. Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have indicated that multiple African countries, including Seychelles, have reported instances of fraud (such as Ponzi and pyramid schemes) to IMF in hopes of getting better data to combat such financial frauds. Thus, you should be aware that companies registered in Seychelles may have a higher than normal chance of being a fraud.
In this particular case, the additional address we found turned out to be very likely a fake, if it is accurate.
Search for domain name "unitedtviexpress.com" revealed an INACTIVE DOMAIN. The domain should not have expired until October 17, 2012, but it currently is not pointed at any website. WHO.IS archive shows that it was using MyFussion.com nameserver, same as IBCTravels.com. While this does NOT prove that the two domains are handled by the same people, it is another piece of circumstantial evidence tying them together.
Keep this in mind, and let us turn to the Facebook page.
The United TVI Express Facebook page is relatively empty, but the profile picture is clear. Let us compare it to the "TVI Express" official logo... and you can see they are virtually identical.
That leaves two explanations:
1) United TVI Express is a TVI Express affiliate (i.e. they are affiliated with a scam); or
2) United TVI Express is a plagiarist, stole logo from TVI Express (but didn't know it was a scam)
Both of which only confirms the "shady nature" of this IBCTravels "opportunity". Given the evidence available, the first explanation is more likely, as United TVI Express needed to hide their own name (association with scam), and they did that by going through a proxy to hide the real registrant of the domain name IBCTravels.com.
What can be learned from the IBC website itself?
Who Owns/Runs IBCTravels.com?
According to IBCTravels.com itself...
IBC Travels is a lifestyle company that markets travel-related products. Combining the power of the internet with the time-tested strength of word-of-mouth marketing, IBC Travels is an emerging leader in the leisure travel industry. IBC Travels is a privately held company with headquarters in Kazakhstan with active representatives and customers around the globe.
For those of you who are somewhat geographically challenged, Kazahkstan is a former Soviet republic that's between Eastern Europe and Russia.
However, under "about", IBCTravel.com lists a business registration certificate out of... Hong Kong. Indeed, under "contact us", they list a Hong Kong address:
IBC Travels Ltd ,
Level 8 , Cambridge House ,
Taikoo Place , 979 King's Road ,
Island East , Hong Kong
Checking that address in Hong Kong revealed to be nothing more than a virtual office
So far, we have a company that is supposedly headquartered in Kazahkstan (they said so), domain likely registered in Seychelles (then hidden), business registered in Hong Kong, virtual office in Hong Kong, with server in the US of A. How interesting they never gave an address for their headquarters, isn't it?
Also, there are no names, no photos, no owner or executive information for IBCTravels... just like TVI Express.
For comparison, TVI Express first claimed to be headquartered in UK (then moved to India when nobody can find the business entity they registered in UK, and their office was revealed to be a virtual office), business registered in Cyprus (and India), server in the US (then moved to Ukraine).
There are too many similarities between IBCTravels and TVI Express to be a mere coincidence.
Another interesting point... IBC Travels claimed to list "bankers", but the only information they revealed is their Liberty Reserve account number (and agencies in various countries where you can submit money to them through Liberty Reserve). Liberty Reserve is NOT a bank, but a payment processor and money exchange service.
One more item to note
TVI Express at one time announced the opening of a branch in Kazahkstan. Indeed, it is still in a business listing.
IBCTravels is involved in at least three countries: Kazahkstan, Hong Kong, US, and maybe Seychelles. It shares some amazing similarities with TVI Express a convicted scam on multiple continents, including virtual offices, offshore registration of companies, hidden domain registration, and more. You don't even know who is behind this company... or how will they pay you. Indeed, compensation plan is not even on their website.
My personal opinion: IBC Travels is a clone of TVI Express scam established by former TVI Express leaders in Kazahkstan. I don't have enough to prove it in a court of law, but there are too many similarities and links between the two for "mere coincidences". I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.
What should you do? You need to make up your own mind. I can only show you a way you may not have seen. You must choose which path to walk, and walk there yourself.
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