Normally I have a sixth sense about Internet scams, but this one completely flew beneath my radar. The website in question is http://www.mega-soft.com – they purport to be a repository of 100’s of old games you can download for FREE!!! Of course, it’s not really free (what is?) and in order to register you need to buy a game called Magic Brick something for $16.95, and THEN the membership is free. And since they offered games like Civilization, Lords of the Realm 2, Alone in the Dark, SimCopter…well, hey! It’s worth the money, right??
Well, I pay with my c/c (via a legit 3rd party, thank GOD) and get this page of totally convoluted instructions on how to download it. Screw that, I said. So I went to the members area where I discovered…
Every single game offered is DEMOWARE or SHAREWARE!!! The person running this site very cleverly disguises that fact. Most are linked to the official game company FTP sites, and about 95% of the links are BROKEN. In other words, although it has all the appearances of a legitimate site (albeit badly designed), it’s a total scam.
I cannot express how much this enrages me. It’s not the money (I’m positive my bank will dispute the charges since it’s obvious fraud), it’s the principle. My first instinct was to find out where this person lives and beat the living shit out of him, but I checked Internic and the domain is registered to a guy in New Zealand (to be precise: Steven Bell, Digital Design Limited, 133 Campbell Road, R.D.5, Feilding, 5600 NZ; Tel +64-6-3239113) which is too far to swim. So I’m doing the next best thing, which is compiling a list of every game he’s offering and then writing the software companies directly and saying, Umm, did you license this guy? Oh, as well as the music companies that own the copyrights to the midi themes he uses (and can’t turn off…)
But that’s not enough. I also want to contact legal authorities, both here and in NZ, but I have no idea who to contact. I’ve been lurking on the SDMB for a long time and I know you guys are pretty smart on just about everything. What else should I do?