Thursday, March 5, 2015

Is Triptogether.com a complete scam, or a partial scam?

Short answer: Mostly scam.

I have previously reviewed Freelancer.com, which is not really a complete scam. However, Triptogether.com, which positions itself as a service for finding travel mates is a complete scam.

You can chat to someone for a very short period of time for free. After that, you will have to pay for each messages entered. It is actually a lot of money, if you continue to chat. Worse, the profiles, most of them that would contact you, are fake! There may be a few genuine unsuspecting users. But the majority (say 99%) of the profiles (at least the female profiles that are used to attract paying customers) are fake!

I found the link for this site from a Facebook travel group. Probably one of their employees advertising. Assuming it is genuinely related to travel and is similar to couchsurfing or airbnb, I gave it a try. Little did I know. The moment I created the profile, even with lack of any interesting information (except the somewhat boring profile picture, name, location, and job title), I started receiving chat messages. Most of them showed extreme interest, not just travelling, rather romantic (it was of course interesting and entertaining to hear those pick up lines from those 'females'). My profile had an open preference (18 or more, anyone - men or women). Regardless of this, I literally got requests from only young females with attractive profiles.

Most of them claim to be from China or Colombia. But a quick chat with them would reveal that they are fake. Some of them were just bots. A few of them indeed appeared to be real humans. Most of them appeared to be hired employees (chat professionals!) who are dedicated to talk longer and longer with the unsuspecting victims to absorb as much as they can to the site. They are just not the person they claim who they are. You may notice repetitions or same messages such as "do you like go to beach with me?" from "different" users.

Despite their extreme level of interest in you, the moment you ask to continue the chat in another free platform such as Facebook or Skype, they would just ignore and stick to this site. Sometimes you may hear "smart" responses such as, "best talk on this site is more secure dear". Interestingly, as much as I researched, the site was surely not more secure. Who would be willing to lose money paying for each message, in that site with a crappy chat system? Their intention is to make the victims stay longer and chat beyond the free 3 minutes of conversation to make them pay. However, as the site gets desperate to get money, eventually it does not even wait for you to send your first reply. Rather, it displays the below message, "Top up your balance and you will never miss the trip of your dream."

Any legitimate user that you may luckily encounter (I suspect that they exist in this site) would be delighted to continue the chat elsewhere, if they are really interested in travelling with you. Of course, there is another set of scammers in this site, the typical "Nigerian Scammers" (they are not really from Nigeria. This has become a metaphor), who attempts to collect your email address.

As they realize, you are not that stupid to pay, the chat frequency from the users will reduce. Since they are not individuals, but a group of scammers, it is possible for them to collaborate and coordinate on this. Also the chat requests come in bulk. Probably since the employees (those who are paid to chat, pretending to be young girls) go out for lunch and return together.

Further red flags are bugs in photo removal and profile picture changer. After changing and removing a profile picture, it magically came back. I suspect that even after deleting a photo, triptogether.com never removes them from their servers permanently. Deleting the profile or disabling it seems equally impossible as well. They just want to collect as many as real people, to their pool of fakes and bots.

I wonder why these scam sites continue to operate. Why can't someone come up with something real and legitimate and continue to earn revenue? Now why did I spend time writing a review for an unknown website that I found from a Facebook comment? The reason is, this site is not alone. There is a series of similar scam sites. I just wanted to warn the subscribers and readers of my blog to be aware of this and any similar site.

My suggestion is, avoid this and many other similar sites, to save your time and money. :) See you next time probably, with another review. :P Let me know your thoughts in the mean time. :D

2 comments:

  1. Hi, yeah triptogether.com is kinda fake. Try tripgiraffe.com - it is web app offering similar service but free of charge. Better design and stuff. It is just new so it still has to grow its user base.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing. I registered Tripgraffe now. I completely agree with you on your description about the site. It has real people. However, like you mentioned, not many users/travellers yet as it is new.

    ReplyDelete

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