WinZip (as far as I can see .. the actual official WinZip.com!) misleading advertising scam.

Update – 15th January 2016:

A year later and they are back with the scam scam messages (“A required driver is missing”). This time I’m seeing the advertisements on YouTube again.

required driver missing lie scam

I don’t understand how they can get away with such clearly inaccurate claims in their advertising. A required driver is most certainly not missing from my (and many other victims) system.

And yet other adverts are clearly written correctly and don’t lie:

ok winzip advert

Original post – 6th December 2014:

An update / Response from Corel has been added to the end of this post!

Earlier this week I started noticing misleading adverts on some web pages being served by Google Adwords.. (See the “Important Message” box on the screenshots below).

winzip scam advertwinzip further scam advert

It was even served as an advert at the end of a youtube video I had made about this scam!

When a tricked user clicks the link they are taken to “www.winzipsystemtools.com” and a sub-page on that domain.

winzip scam website

I called, as shown in the screenshot above.. 18008720241 (0018008720241 / 1-800-872-0241) to ask them about the missing driver they claimed I had.

Then their absolute lies start.

Listen to the entire call here:

What worries me is the claim on the website and, multiple times, by the agent on the end of the phone that they are Winzip!

This is worryingly.. going by all the things I’ve checked – actually Winzip! running this scam.

The website is hosted on 46.4.121.211 (“static.211.121.4.46.clients.your-server.de”) at Hetzner in Germany:

inetnum: 46.4.121.192 – 46.4.121.223
netname: HETZNER-RZ14
descr: Hetzner Online AG
descr: Datacenter 14
country: DE

The hostnames systemtools.winzip.com and mac.winzip.com also point to 46.4.121.211 and when “systemtools” is visited gives you a similar website to the “advert” one.. but with a different phone number 18557167029 (0018557167029 / 1-855-716-7029).

It is astonishing to me that supposedly reputable huge companies like Winzip (owned by Corel) are involved in this kind of scam.

I hope these people get slapped down like a recent similar scam.

Another hostname that points to the same website IP is wp.girnarsoft.com

The domain is under the name:

Domain Name: WINZIPSYSTEMTOOLS.COM
Registrant Name: ROB CHARLEBOIS
Registrant Organization: ROB CHARLEBOIS
Registrant Street: 35 WESTWOOD DR
Registrant Street: OTTAWA
Registrant City: ONTARIO
Registrant State/Province: ON
Registrant Postal Code: K2G2W9
Registrant Country: CA
Registrant Phone: +1.6134826735
Registrant Email: RCHARLEBOIS@GMAIL.COM

As an aside and not really part of my complaint related to WinZip and their affiliation:

The person on the end of the phone gave the suspicious domain lmi1.com (logmein 1) which doesn’t seem to be owned by LogMeIn. The domain whois information is protected using a privacy service and the website just forwards you to the code entry page on logmein rescue’s website.

The organisation www.cyberpcexperts.com is also somehow involved. Their logo and name appeared on the logmein rescue applet I was told to download.

Registrant Name: Abinesh Pratap Singh
Registrant Organization: Benovellient Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Registrant Street: B-23/C1, Sec-62, Institutional Area,
Registrant City: Noida
Registrant State/Province: Uttar Pradesh
Registrant Postal Code: 201307
Registrant Country: IN
Registrant Phone: +91.9013165106
Registrant Email: abinesh@cyberpcexperts.com

Hosted on 198.15.72.246 with rdns cyberpc.server.firm.in

Net Range 198.15.64.0 – 198.15.127.255
CIDR 198.15.64.0/18
Name SECURED-SERVERS

Also involved and related to cyperpcexperts, publishing the same telephone number on their website, is www.benosupport.com hosted on 67.22.135.5 (“web21.hspheredns.com”)

Organization Cologlobal (CARTI-1)

Registrant Name: Abinesh pratap singh
Registrant Organization: Beno Support
Registrant Street: malvia nagar
Registrant City: delhi
Registrant State/Province: Delhi
Registrant Postal Code: 201307
Registrant Country: IN
Registrant Phone: +91.9310358904
Registrant Email: rajputtroyal@gmail.com

Quite entertainingly at the address listed on the cyberpcexperts website there is also a company called “Benovellient Technologies Pvt. Ltd“. Hah. Their domain is protected with a privacy service.
They also list the same telephone number as cyberpcexperts on their website and it is hosted on the same server as benosupport.com

The linkedin profile claims they have between 500 and 1,000 employees.. quite an operation.

They appear to be selling rebadged systweak software.

Update – 9th December 2014:

A response via the BBB from Corel Corporation states…
“What the customer appears to be experiencing is an individual or group falsely representing themselves as WinZip. WinZip does not sell products or services valued at $500. All individual products and services are valued at under $100. The user [..snip..] has been contacted by the WinZip product manager to discuss the details of the call to the claimed WinZip support so this can be addressed if necessary.”

It doesn’t explain how the “group falsely representing themselves as WinZip” is in control of a server that mac.winzip.com uses!
I’ve also not had an e-mail reply to the message I sent to the product manager.

Update – 10th December 2014:

The phone number has disappeared from the systemtools.winzip.com / www.winzipsystemtools.com website!
Spot the difference now (the second screen shot) compared to when I made the call and wrote this post:
winzip scam websitewinzip-phone-number-removed

I’ve also been contacted by “Rob Charlebois – VP of Ecommerce” at WinZip asking for more information…
The first e-mail notes that I could have managed to somehow get on the phone to a reseller or affiliate who re-package their software (ref: download.com and the ilk with their “downloaders” that also come with junkware).. however I’m absolutely certain that WinZip (at least until a few days ago) were quite clearly running the phone number in question going by Google… (note that the number has now been removed from the second result down!, it is still a the bottom of the first google result and top right on the third result.)

winzip-associated-with-number

Update – 14th December 2014:

WinZip have done an incredible job of eradicating any evidence of the phone number from their websites! The above google search has changed since the 10th and now only lists one Winzip website. One page has disappeared from the google index and the final one has disappeared and 404 errors on Winzip.com… still no apology or acceptance of a problem with their call center from Winzip.

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12 Responses to WinZip (as far as I can see .. the actual official WinZip.com!) misleading advertising scam.

  1. Hello TheComputerPerson: I’m Jacques Lamontagne from WinZip. We’ve seen your post and want to thank you for bringing this to our attention. We would like to assure you that this is not a typical customer experience and would appreciate the opportunity to find out more about your call. You can reach me at jlamontagne@winzip.com.

  2. I’ve sent a message but not had a response. The response via the Better Business Bureau denies that the phone number stated is winzip but doesn’t explain how this company has their website running from a WinZip.com server and is also using the winzip company name on their site and phone greetings.

  3. Pingback: Two more “Windows” scam calls… | thecomputerperson

  4. Phil Ryder says:

    Interesting recording of the phone call. I had one similar. I got my phone number from the HELP screen from WinZip Systems Utilities Suite software that I have used for about a year (legit Winzip software) so I don’t know how this company, which is obviously NOT a legit WinZip support function, gets call redirected to them.

  5. Mind uploading a screenshot of the winzip software and the help screen showing the number so I can add it to this article?

  6. Phil Ryder says:

    When I logged a complaint to WinZip via WinZip’s webpage (The “contact us link”) I got this reply:

    Hi Phillip, I am writing in response to your message:

    I wish to inform you that our Phone Support is handled by Systweak, India. They are our authorized partner and have co developed WinZip System Utilities Suite.

    They also have their own Paid Support plan and WinZip never force customers to buy this Paid Support plan. It depends Customers if they find it suitable for their use.

    We have forwarded your complaint to concern department of WinZip for their review.

    Thanks,
    Avi, WinZip Customer Support

    Obviously a reply from the Indian support group (poor grammar and sentence structure) even though I went through the WinZip web portal. My conclusion is, that it seems Systweak and WinZip have some form of collaborative support group since the WinZip Utilities Suite was either a joint venture or an opportunity to collaborate. It seems that your experience and mine (and who knows how many others) presented an opportunity for the representative try and sell a maintenance plan to prevent all those bogies from attacking our PC’s.
    The way they presented themselves on the telephone sounded just like those calls that are made from the “Windows Team” that call, get you to log on the a remote site, take control of your pc and install malware, adware, or monitoring software.
    If they are WinZip’s authorized support arm, WinZip should be aware that the image they giving is terrible and seems to be doing more harm than good.
    If I new how to upload an image to this site I would.

  7. Upload to anywhere and post the link here :) thanks for the update though. If you have the energy – I’d register a complaint with the BBB:
    http://www.bbb.org/ottawa/business-reviews/computers-sys-designers-and-consult/corel-corporation-in-ottawa-on-12885

  8. Pingback: Yet another microsoft scam support company. getsupportforyourpc.com / righttechnicalsupport.com | thecomputerperson

  9. I just seen a newer version of the same ad by WinZip say I had missing drivers on my Windows system – but i was on my Debian system.
    #winzipFail.

  10. bob@winzip.com says:

    i got one of these ads on your video. ;)

  11. Chesterton says:

    Presently conducting reconnaissance on this company for a client. Here’s the LinkedIn profile for Benovellient Technologies Pvt. Ltd’s co-founder: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abineshpratap

    Interesting… he has WinZip listed as a client for this very call center. : )

  12. It makes me sad that more than a year on they continue to lie in adverts. At least the telephone number has disappeared from the landing page so people are not quite so easily lied to on the phone.

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