Be afraid, be very afraid
TruthAboutPrivacy is just one of several high-scare Webfomercials run by the same folks who hawk the Patriot Survival Plan, which is trying to be a Bible for the Preppers movement (ie, people preparing for the collapse of America, if not the zombie apocalypse).
You can watch the whole 35-minute video here. It’s an eye opener. Apparently our economy is doomed and we are about to become rent boys for Russia, China, and Brazil.
Is he trying to say we’ll end up penniless or penis-less? Either way, it’s pretty scary.
You know that crazy uncle who shows up for Thanksgiving dinner, gets a couple of drinks under his belt, and starts cutting loose about how the [fill-in-the-blank] are ruining America and it’s time to take our country back, by force if necessary? That’s this site, only multiplied by about 1000.
They are the same guns-gold-and-god crowd that went apes**t about the Y2K crisis – I mean, literally, the same people. And they look a lot like these guys:
By the end of the video, if you get that far, you’ll be tempted to grab a gun and head for the hills. But not before whipping out your wallet and dropping close to a hundred bucks on survival manuals.
The scariest thing? These guys totally own the SEO about their product. I couldn’t find any information about these “programs” that wasn’t directly from the company or an affiliate. And that’s why I decided to dedicate this blog post to them. You can thank me later.
From Romania with love
So who are these guys, exactly?
The Patriot Survival Guide video is narrated by a trim, clean-cut American-sounding guy in his 30s calling himself Matt Stevens. That’s also the name on the domain registration for PatriotSurvivalPlan.com. But I can find no other record of this person on the InterWebs – none, zip, nada – and really, I tried. Every reference is to either his Patriot Survival sites or to a former NFL safety of the same name who played for the New England Patriots.
Generally speaking, if you’re a real human doing business across the InterWebs, you leave behind digital footprints – a LinkedIn page, a Twitter account, a blog, something. As far as I can tell this guy has nothing. So my best guess is that Matt is a fictional character being played by an actor.
TruthAboutPrivacy.com is registered to an Andrew Hasna of Moo! Media Group, which claims to be based in Toronto and is incorporated in Delaware using the same private mailbox address as “Matt Stevens” at Patriot Survival Plan.
Calls to the number listed in TruthAboutPrivacy’s DNS record failed to go through. I left a message for Andrew at Moo! Media Group’s 800 number; I’m still waiting for a callback. Like the elusive “Matt,” Moo Media’s Andrew leaves almost no traces on the Web. But LinkedIn lists an Andrew Hasna who’s VP of sales for a marketing company in Romania named WinArrow, and I’m 99 percent sure it’s him.
According to LinkedIn, Moo! Media Group appears to have a handful of employees based in Romania, but none in Canada. A former colleague of Hasna’s at WinArrow in Romania, Gianni Lofti, is listed as COO of Moo! Media. The address listed in the DNS records for TruthAboutPrivacy and for some of the various Patriot sites is the same one used by one of Lofti’s other business entities, Romance Homes. Given the fact that these two guys share both an employer and address, they are almost certainly the folks behind Moo! Media – and, thus, those scare-mongering survival sites.
So, to recap: Those “patriots” who are so concerned about the future of America are most likely Romanians pretending to be Canadians doing business in Delaware.
Paranoia strikes deep
Personally, I think that trying to whip undereducated but heavily armed people into a frenzy of fear and paranoia for the purpose of making a buck is immoral and dangerous.
Still, if you want to separate whack jobs from their money, that’s your business. And if you love nothing better than to stockpile weaponry and gnaw on beef jerky while compiling conspiracy theories about the gummint, well, it’s a free country. (And yes, last time I checked, it was still a free country.)
Fortunately for me, I now know the Truth About Privacy, so I recognize when I’m being conned.
Here’s a hint. If you believe anything you see on any of these sites, you are.
Got a question about social media or privacy? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he'll make something up). Follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to's, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.
Now read this: