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I’ve been conned? September 7, 2012

Filed under: General Musings — Lucy Neatby @ 21:45
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Please delete the FREE Lucy Neatby app (the one with the hot pink button) from any Android and Apple devices asap. Do not give any password or other personal info in response to any e mail purporting to come from me or Tradewind Knitwear Designs.

NOTE: the paid Knit Companion app, Knit With Lucy, is just fine and reputable, as is Knit Companion.

I have always dealt with people honestly and expected similar behaviour from them. I may have been too trusting and have fallen victim to a con artist. P.C, owner of Capital Global Group, was introduced to me by a friend as a computer expert (and devout Christian) who was sought after far and wide for his expertise in writing apps.
He convinced me that every business owner must have an app nowadays – it would be crazy not to, since everyone has mobile phones and tablets and is looking for apps. I was told the app would function to allow people to connect with me easily and do many other wonderful things. Much jargon and many facts were recited. It sounded promising.

I am good at what I do in my creative life, but am not technically sophisticated: I took what he told me at face value and believed the app might be beneficial for my company and employees. Businesses must keep up with technology to survive and succeed, so an app seemed like the proper direction for us to go.

The app (hot pink title page) was eventually released (7 months later than promised) but I believe that people should be given a chance so I cut him some slack. According to him it was always days away from perfection.
It was a piece of poor workmanship and shoddy appearance, he made a few small changes but it still remained unattractive but not apparently harmful.
Mr. C. seemed quite unable to improve it. He had collected his money from me. I began to harbour considerable doubts about his competence. Messages I asked to be sent were altered, or omitted. It remained ugly.

The app  has since been tested, at my request, by several technically able people, who pronounced it “utter garbage”. A letter was sent to Pierre (and acknowledged) instructing him to remove the app from all app stores by a certain date and severing our business relationship.

Not only did he not comply, he has since changed the function of the app so that it is now set up to collect your private information. The app has a long list of permissions it requires from your mobile device, and we are concerned that all these permissions, when granted, may give him access to read, copy or modify other files and addresses on your device.

I feel miserable for what has happened to me and Tradewinds. He is now using my good name and reputation to engage in potentially illegal behaviour. I feel much worse that you, my friends and customers, are now possibly being exposed to this nasty man.
All of us at Tradewinds are working to get the app removed from app stores: the road to removal is fraught with miles of red tape, so it may take some time.

Please let your friends know that they should not download this app (or should un-install it if they already own it), so that we limit the damage caused by this man.

Again, I am so sorry this has happened.

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35 Responses to “I’ve been conned?”

  1. laurelfaye Says:

    It happens. unfortunately there are ” con men and women” who will take advantage of our good intentions for their own gain. I just glad he has been exposed . thank you for the heads up

  2. Danielle L Says:

    geez, Lucy. This is a terrible sham! It is great that you are always innovating and finding new ways to impart your tremendous knowledge. I hope this setback will not change your outlook…This and the UK Knit Camp adventure of a few years ago has made me realized how hard it is for professionals in this business to make a viable living. This must feel like such a betrayal. About 25 years ago, my husband had a construction business but did not have it listed in the yellow pages. Some sub-contractor he hired, went and took a yellow page ad in our business name and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it. Your story reminded me of that event in our lives…I hope you get it all sorted out. (I have the purchased app – at least I think that is what is on my iPad.) Danielle

  3. corrie Says:

    Lucy,
    It just dawned on me why he-who-shall-not-be-named wants passwords to go with the emails: he thinks this will take him into the knitters’
    accounts where he can then make merry with their credit cards! It is the
    thought of the likes of him that made me decide, right at the start of
    your site design, not to store credit card information, and to guard
    your subscriber list with my life. I am sincerely pleased at having
    thwarted him twice over. (Unfortunately, he did get all the app-based
    subscribers and is busily spamming them, or has sold the lists and is
    having a jug of wine on the avails.)
    Corrie

  4. Louise Whitehead Says:

    Sorry this has happened to you and your company, it is awful, and just shows
    how easily these people can trick us. We are all vulnerable, in this strange cyber world.
    I have deleted the app.
    Lucy, I am lucky enough to talk to a lot of knitters when I am work or teaching
    at my lys. I also mention my time with you in Alaska, when I meet other knitters on my travels and cruises. I have recommended your classes to the owner of a lovely yarn shop where I often take classes called Little Red Mitten, in St Thomas, Ontario, and they would love to hear from you and have you visit. I always recommend your books, DVD’s,
    classes, methods, presentation, never failing adaptability and professionalism. Please take care, you didn’t need this on top of breaking your poor arm! Hope we can get together when you come to London and as I mentioned a few weeks back, please take care to ” get all of your ducks in a row” before you arrive.

  5. Annie Says:

    I feel so terrible for you, this is WRONG. Hindsight is 20/20, but there are probably precious few knit designers who would have the ability to tell a techno con-artist-turned-con-artist from a legit programmer.

    I know I certainly wouldn’t, and it’s only sheer dumb luck that I’m not in your position.

  6. Katherine Says:

    If anyone DOES have the app, it would be really helpful to post a review on the App Store telling others NOT ENDORSED BY LUCY & explain the app is collecting personal information, please see Lucy’s website for more info….only people who have downloaded the app can post a review…so unfortunately I can’t post & someone had posted a glowing review that needs countering

    • Great suggestion – please do post. That will deter potential new app downloaders.

      • Happy to do that Katherine/Lucy. That’s a great idea and I DO have the app (but not for long).
        So so so sorry, Lucy. I thought it was a great idea and then… this. Blah. I’m always shocked when something like this happens. I just don’t know how some people sleep at night!

    • Roiana Buckmaster Says:

      Probably the con artist himself, this kind of stuff makes my blood boil. It really ruins the usefullness of the net when you can’t trust the integrity of anything or anyone.

      So sorry this happened to you, Ms Lucy!!

  7. I am very sorry that this has happened, and I applaud your (and Knitty’s) quick response.

  8. revknits Says:

    Thank you for being upfront about the mistakes and the con, and helping to limit the damage. Fortunately, I bought the paid App, and am planning to enjoy it greatly.

  9. Please contact google about the app being a fraud and maliciously used by the developer. They should be able to take it down. Go to support.google.com and select google play, then select “Phone, email” in the small popup. That will take you to a form where you can report the app.

  10. ursulamajor Says:

    There are many honest and reputable Christian businesses out there. But I have noticed that many con-people emphasize “Christianity” as part of the con to get people to trust them. I’ve heard so many terrible stories (literally dozens) that I will not work with a group that does this without intensive background checks like Better Business Bureau. Good luck.

  11. Rhonda Says:

    i hope you will post this information on the appropriate app stores so there won’t be any issues later on

  12. Angela Best Says:

    I’m sorry this happened to you and I’ll help spread the word. Angela

  13. Melissa Says:

    You should contact Apple immediately and let them know that this app is a FRAUD and that by offering it through the i-Tunes store, Apple is perpetrating the fraud.

  14. amy Says:

    i downloaded the app and then immediately deleted it. this was enough for the iTunes store to let me leave a review like the one mentioned above — i pointed people to this blog post and said Lucy herself does not authorize this app. Maybe if enough of us do this, it might get pulled from the store.

  15. mk Says:

    That’s terrible Lucy! I hope it gets sorted out quickly.

  16. Norah Says:

    Lucy, I see that a couple people have already posted in the reviews of the app in Google Play (the Android app store) that you had posted in your blog that the app was a scam to steal people’s information.

  17. Judy Says:

    Lucy, I am so sorry that this has happened to you and your wonderful company. There are so many good people in this world and it is really disgusting to run afoul of one of the terribles. Best wishes, always.

  18. Ivete Says:

    Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that this happened! Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help (with tech stuff)

  19. The line that I am being fed now is that P.C. has attempted to take down the app but is somehow being prevented from doing so by some other body. Sounds fishy to me. I would just like to see the free pink button app disappear into the void.
    Thanks for your support and be careful of your data wherever you may be.

  20. Marg Says:

    Lucy, this is from a tech-savvy friend of mine. Hope it helps:
    she can request it be taken off google play store here:

    http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/request.py?contact_type=takedown

    Report Inappropriate Apps – Google Play Help
    support.google.com

  21. I’m sorry to hear this has happened to you. Hope it all works out. Best Wishes

  22. Blech. What a waste of time and energy this fellow has caused. SO sorry you are having to deal with this, Lucy. May some good come of it for you, somehow, and may the scammer’s karma follow his pseudo-Christian self and nip at his heels until he quits being a predator.

    • I had no problem with the experimental aspect of the project, but when the app was not removed as instructed and strange things began to happen in my name, that is when I decided that people should be alerted. I trust the negative comments will deter anyone from downloading the app in future, until such time as it can be removed by the hosts. I do sorely begrudge the time and energy this has drained from more positive things.


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