scamA new scourge has struck the Internet making both you and your kids unsafe. Emails with the subject line “Alert:There is a Sex Offender Living Near You!”, “Sex Offender Alert” or “Sex Offender Locator” is making the rounds. The email claims to be a notification that “a registered-child-offender has just moved into your area,” and this information is based on your “local area zipcode.”  There are two problems with this email.  Most of them direct you to a creepy website called “Kids Live Safe“.  It is a rip-off site that sells localized reports on sex offenders.   But worse,  if you click on the email links, you may possibly be infecting your machine with malware, even if you ultimately end up at a legitimate site.  According to the BBB, once it’s on your machine, the malware will attempt to search for stored information such as usernames, passwords and credit card numbers. What’s worse, the “sex offender” information being hawked for almost $30 per month is available for free at the FBI’s directory of state databases.

At Kids Live Safe’s slick website,you are treated to a videomercial that touts the “keep your family safe”. Is it a scam? Is it a rip-off? Does it work? You’ll never find out, largely because of an increasingly pernicious Internet industry that offers fake product review sites. You’ll also never be able to find out about the credentials of the the company behind it.  Don’t be fooled by the $1 trial offer;  once they have your credit card information, you will be subject to further charges.   The Santa Barbara BBB reports that signing up for the $1 trial membership this includes access to all member benefits for a 7 day period.  After that period expires, unless you cancel your membership before, the company will continue to protect your designated addresses and offer all of their tools and benefits at the rate of $29.97/mo or $59.98/year.

Should you spend any money for this service? We recommend not, for the following reasons:

1. There’s a reason this sales pitch is slick — they spend a lot of marketing money to get it to you. Who is paying for that? You are. And, like many scammers, they are using Clickbank to sell their ebook so don’t assume you’ll get a refund.

2. If you look for a review of the product, you are deluged with lots of fake review or “scam” sites that simply direct you to the main sales site or offer some pablum talking about how the product is highly rated or recommended. (such as trustlink.com, odigger.com and scamadviser.com)  These are “affiliate” websites that make money for referrals to the scam site. It is also a tactic to obscure any customers who have posted complaints or alerts about fraudulent claims.

3. There is no background information on company that has conceived this “service” selling information that is freely available. If the website fails to feature the credentials and principals of the company behind the offering, you can bet this is a marketer driven product that is selling you free or low-cost information already available to you.

4. Perhaps most importantly, there is an abundance of free or low-cost information about sex offender locations on the Internet. As noted above, the FBI and almost every state maintains an up-dated database of information about registered sex offenders. The National Sex Offender Public Website is a good place to start such a search…..and it is free.

5. This website and others like it are predators preying upon the fears of families with children.  You can read about how they rip-off unsuspecting consumers at some blogs.  But for every person that complains on the Net, you can bet there are dozens of others who do not complain.

We recommend that you check out these free services before ever forking over money to these kinds of predator websites. Save your hard-earned money and the inevitable headaches if you are ensnared by this infoscam trap.