Business

LAHORE (Staff Report) -While Pakistani authorities are investigating deep into the fake degree business of Axact – popularly known as IT solutions provider, several cases have surfaced in which a ring of fake app development sites have scammed a large amount of people globally.


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“I needed to get apps developed fast. I initially found them doing a Google search and saw an ad on Adwords, so decided to check them out,” says Ryan, a web developer from 420singles.com. He is among dozens of those who have been scammed by Appspectra, an App development website allegedly owned by Axact.

“They had a few press releases and their fake portfolio looked great, not to mention their flawless customer service. I told them what I was looking for and they sent over the first set of designs which looked amazing, everything was so professional, the app looked amazing and was exactly what I wanted,” Mr Ryan wrote on a social website, Reddit.

“I was hooked so I sent them over the first $7,000 to get started on development. After a few days they said they would need the next payment in order to continue the development and get the beta version ready for download so I wired them the next $7,000. It was at this point that their customer service line stopped working and they stopped responding to emails and I knew something was up,” said Mr Ryan who lost $14,000 in total.

11 days passed and Mr Ryan realised that he had been scammed.

“The worst part is that they still continue to troll for business on their Facebook and twitter pages and their websites are still up and running but you can only send them an email to ask for a quote,” the jilted client said.

Apparently the same thing has happened to a dozen or more people and no one can figure out what is going on.

These app makers appear to be a part of a ring of fake app development sites that have scammed a large amount of people out of exactly $14k each.

So how do we know that appspectra.com is run by Axact? Axact has many online businesses besides Education (Degree Mills alleged by New York Times) If we follow Axact’s digital footprint in the same manner as NYT did, we can connect Axact with the websites belonging to their App development departments. Websites like:

http://www.appspectra.com/

http://www.appostrophic.com/

http://www.appnotech.com/

http://www.brandcrux.com/

All these websites are similar, have similar fake portfolio and same design, content and footer at the bottom:

f2

f1

Futhermore, if we compare traceroutes of appspectra.com and axact.com we find the conclusive proof that they are hosted by same servers at the same location.

axact

This is exactly how the Degree Mill business was operating. After the now-famous New York Times article, Axact spokesperson and CEO Mr Shoaib Shaikh stated that their Online Education department is really small and Axact has many other departments too that should be allowed to work. He was right, Axact has many other departments besides Online Education and they are all equally corrupt and unethical. Axact as a whole must be investigated, not just its Diploma/Degree Mill business.

Pakistani software industry has a huge sector that depends on outsourcing by foreigners. All that we have to get business from overseas is our name in the market, if Pakistani software industry is tainted by the label of being “scammers” and “con artists” it will die a quick and easy death. These scandals have the power to do that. Politics and media wars aside, the government must step up and save the upstanding, hardworking, and law-abiding companies in the industry from the diseased black sheep.