Deaf Woman, 64, Says She Lost $5,300 In Noobing Autosurf And ‘Can’t Sleep At Night’; Contacts FBI And San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office For Help

Noobing promoter Jim Beach pitched the program using sign language on YouTube.

Noobing promoter Jim Beach pitched the program using sign language on YouTube.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Carolyn,” the subject of this story, is deaf. She uses a videophone and a human interpreter. The interpreter served as Carolyn’s voice for the interview, translating the Blog’s questions for Carolyn and her responses.

Here, now, the story . . .

A 64-year-old California woman — “Carolyn” — said she lost $5,300 in the Noobing autosurf.  Carolyn is deaf. She described herself as a person of limited means financially, saying her experience with Noobing is keeping her awake at night and that the company simply pretended she did not exist when she repeatedly sought answers.

Carolyn, who lives in the Mojave Valley community of Needles in San Bernardino County, said she was introduced to Noobing, part of the Affiliate Strategies Inc. (ASI) umbrella of companies, in January 2009.  The introduction was made by another deaf person who had 18 members in her downline.

Carolyn’s sponsor was in the downline of Noobing promoter Jim Beach, Carolyn said. The sponsor lost more than $6,000 in Noobing, Carolyn said.

ASI was named a defendant in a fraud lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission in July 2009. Neither Noobing nor Beach is a defendant in the FTC action, but Noobing is mentioned in court documents filed by Larry Cook, the court-appointed receiver.

In a preliminary report, Cook said Noobing generated more than $590,000 in revenue in 2008 and and more than $541,000 in 2009 before going offline. He estimated that Noobing was in the hole nearly $550,000 since 2008, and noted that the ASI network of companies “were high revenue/low margin operations which required significant cash in-flows from new victims to meet current trade creditor and consumer refund obligations.”

Beach used sign language and promoted the autosurf on YouTube, according to web records. Carolyn, who described herself as “fairly new” to the Internet, said she became increasingly worried about the money she had entrusted to Noobing.

On a website deemed “The Official Web Blog” of Noobing, the program was described as a “hit” among deaf people. Noobing, according to the Blog, was promoted at Deaf Expos in Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey and Texas in 2008 “to connect with the often overlooked hearing impaired business community.”

Deaf people “waited in long lines just for a chance to check out Noobing,” according to the Blog.

Beach, whom the Blog described as “Noobing Sales Manager” and a CODA — the child of a deaf adult — traveled extensively to recruit  deaf members, according to the Blog.

Carolyn communicated with Beach at least three times in her early days with Noobing in 2009,  but he told her he “left the management of Noobing in April 2009,”  Carolyn said. He then asked her if she wanted to join a program involving the sale of vitamins. Carolyn declined to join the vitamin program.

Noobing was no help when she called to get answers, Carolyn said.

“Whenever I called Noobing, they would just hang up on me,” Carolyn said, adding that her sponsor also has ceased communicating with her.

She added that she “had to go to a debt counselor.”

“It’s a frustrating road to hoe,” Carolyn said. “It has been very frustrating.”

“It was on my [credit] card,” she said. “I just racked up my debt unbelievably.”

Carolyn provided this URL as an example of a site at which hearing-impaired members discussed and promoted Noobing:

http://www.alldeaf.com/introduce-yourself/60136-hi-deafies-new-here-today-want-friends-affiliate-noobing.html

Noobing was popular among members of AdSurfDaily, a Florida company implicated in an alleged $100 million Ponzi scheme. Carolyn said she was not a member of ASD, adding that she has contacted the Internet Crime Complaint Center operated by the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance to complain about Noobing.

She also contacted the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, and will meet with an investigator tomorrow, Carolyn said.

“I feel depressed,” she said. “I feel I’ve been really victimized. It’s hard to make ends meet. I can’t sleep at night; I’m constantly worried over my finances.”

Read an Aug. 3, 2008, story about the litigation against ASI and other defendants. The case largely centers around an alleged grant-writing scheme.

Visit the site of Larry Cook, the court-appointed receiver in the FTC case against ASI and other defendants.

Visit the site of Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, one of four state attorneys general who have joined the FTC in the ASI action.

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