Potentially Fraudulent Sites Posing as Genealogy Websites

I received the following alert from our home offices in Utah:

We have recently become aware of three websites purporting to allow family history research: SearchYourGenealogy.com, Ancestry-search.com and Australian-Ancestry.com. The sites claim to have “the largest online genealogical search tool” and promote themselves as the foremost resources for genealogy, but from what we can tell, these sites are nothing more than a series of web pages with links to other services. These sites, in our opinion, are clearly fraudulent.

On each site, potential customers are lured to purchase under what we feel to be false, misleading and deceitful promotional material, and get little or no value out of money spent at the websites. Blog and message board posts from the community confirm this opinion.

The people/companies behind the websites are buying very high level paid search results on Google and other sites. In addition, they are using trademarks of well-known websites, including Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com, to get higher-than-normal natural search results. It appears the site colors, fonts, and pictures on at least one site are designed to mislead people in to believing the site is related to Ancestry.com.

As the leading online family history company, The Generations Network, Inc. and its website properties including Ancestry.com and its global network of Ancestry sites, Genealogy.com, and Rootsweb, we want to encourage consumers to validate and verify the legitimacy of a website before providing credit card information or paying for services. TGN will take appropriate administrative and legal action to do its part to protect the community from these sites.

 

16 thoughts on “Potentially Fraudulent Sites Posing as Genealogy Websites

  1. I checked out SearchYourGenealogy.com’s About Us page and found this:

    “We are pioneers in the information commerce industry. We teem-up with professional genealogists that helps us find the most accurate resources possible, to offer it to our customers.”

    Not exactly confidence inspiring, is it?

  2. Pingback: Paget & Taylor Family Tree

  3. I have a question about another website that may be fraudulent. It is Gov-Resources.com. They claim to have complete online record searching. I have not been able to get anything on this site. Everything comes back “no record” no matter what I search for. The membership purchase price is $39.95. I’m afraid I have wasted my money.

  4. I carefully check the spelling on the website. If there are any discrepancies then I know they are fraudulent. I guess this stems from doing so many professional letters. Poor spelling and/or grammer is a clear indication that something is not right.

  5. My experience with Gov-Resources.com is very similar to that of Barbara McKay. When you do a preliminary search, it tells you there are x number of hits, but you must have a membership, costing $39.95, a one time fee, to receive the information. Once you pay, the site will not accept your user name or password; hence, you are denied access and no information. This is definitely a scam and should be avoided. The one time fee should have been a clue to its bogus status.

  6. Thanks for the warning about fraudulent Websites.
    This researcher needs all the help and assistance
    available. Good Day

  7. I don’t think spelling and grammar is going to do it. Not unless you’re seeing it in every or everyother sentence. But then I think that would be pretty obvious that it wouldn’t be a site you’d want to work with. But a misspelled word or two certainly isn’t enough. I’ve found that many in these journals. Are we now going to say that this isn’t legit??? I don’t think so.
    People don’t proofread today like they did in the past (and, unfortunately, that’s more like distant past–school didn’t do such a great job with my daughters in regard to proofreading and they are in their 20′s now. It’s sad we’re loosing that art–I know, I know–computers have spell check, but they aren’t catching everything).

  8. Thanks for verifying what I suspected. One of those sites seems to just be a way for its owners to build mailing lists as I sure got a lot of spam after my visit, don’t remember which one it was though. I also agree about the Gov-resources.com website–at the very least it’s totally worthless!

  9. What about newspaperarchive.com?
    I did a preliminary search (before fee payment) for my great-grandmother. The site came back with “We discovered 15,427 results for Harriet Leona Thompson in newspaper articles found in our archive!” Well, wasn’t I excited. Paid my fee, did the search again, and what came back was “No results were found for search term(s)”. Now, how does it go from 15,427 to 0? Truth or consequences? Truth: there was nothing there. Consequences: I’m posting this on your site and making sure I pass this on to others.

  10. To bad that we have to have this happing.
    We are such a close group of people like family]
    on Ancestry and
    Root Web
    Thanks ofor the up date on it.
    J.A.

  11. I stay with only one paid site…ANCESTRY….I did a free search with another paid site and got over 10,000 matches for the name I entered…WOW!!! DAFFY DUCK sure has a lot of online ancestors!!!!!
    gravehuntermary

  12. Those who have been misled could file a complaint with their state attorney general’s office or consumer affairs office. Enough complaints, or complaints of the right type, might initiate an investigation. Sometimes our tax dollars work for us!

  13. I think that if you paid for your membership by credit card, you can contact your card company and have that fee reversed. If you have been mislead, or you’re tracking relatives for Daffy Duck, I think that would qualify! (Makes me think of a couple of sayings: You get what you pay for; and, If it sounds too good to be true it probably IS!!

    Good Luck!!

  14. While newspaperarchive can be a little tricky to search (you have to use advance search to get more reliable results) it definitely isn’t a fraudulent site. I’ve found several treasured articles and obits about family members that I would never have had otherwise, including the article about a 1944 bomber crash that happened just down the road from where my mother was spending the weekend. She remembers seeing the plane falling and the parachutes of the survivors.

  15. In the past year, I have “met” about fifty cousins and “cousins of cousins” On-line, mostly in the AncestryWorldTree pages, and so far not one has been willing to give me the name and address of a mutual cousin that I might contact. I look at it from their perspective, asking myself: “if someone contacted me asking about my sister-in-laws’ families, would I send them my brothers’ addresses?” And the answer is–absolutely! And so I am forced to be borderline rude and tell people that if they are unwilling to put me in touch with a real, live person that I can write to, then it is best that we not waste any more of each other’s time.

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