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Closed Delivery Service Grassdoor is Being Impersonated by Scammers

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@higherorigins Posted on Dec 2, 2023

UPDATE Since the publication of this article, the scam site in question has been taken offline.

In our latest article, we covered the failure of consumer delivery company Grassdoor. However, as we continued to monitor the situation, we discovered that an illegal/scam site disguised as Grassdoor is still operating. In this article we will talk about the signs that clearly indicate this is a scam, and demonstrate tools you can use to vet other suspicious cannabis businesses. 

Disclaimer: Higher Origins STRONGLY suggests you don’t visit the site discussed in this article. If you for whatever reason decide to visit it, do so at your own risk! It is highly suspicious, and any attempt to transact through it may be illegal, compromise your security, or result in an unrecoverable loss of funds. Grassdoor isn't selling weed anymore, so don't buy any from anyone claiming to be them! Our discussion of this site is for security education purposes only and is not an endorsement of any delivery service, active or inactive, real or fake.

The site in question is “grassdoorweed”, and at first glance, it looks like Grassdoor, but it’s replaced the official Grassdoor site’s white and turquoise with an aggressive pink and purple with loud splash graphics. The logo is shamelessly stolen though, so an uninformed observer might trust it if they were familiar with the logo. Throughout the site, grammar and spelling is inconsistent and often incorrect.

The top bars of the two websites, the pink one is the scam, the blue one is legit

As you scroll the main page, red flags begin to appear. Product listings and a lot of the images on the site scale poorly and are often pixelated. Promotional banners advertise a Pride month sale, however, as we enter December, it’s about as far as you can get from being Pride month, which is June. A different sale banner promotes a Fall sale that ends 10/16… why would the promotional banner be up for that over a month after a sale has ended?

Happy early/late Pride everyone!

Shop now! (6 weeks ago)

Further down the page past more crappy graphics are some customer testimonials listed as being sourced from Weedmaps. Searching on Weedmaps for “Grassdoor” or “Grassdoorweed” doesn’t turn up any meaningful results. If you read the testimonials, some don’t make sense, including two that seem to suggest an in person location, while nowhere else on the site is a brick and mortar location mentioned. 

Suspicious fake Weedmaps reviews (also, please don’t hit on retail staff in reviews, its cringe)

At the bottom of the page, the company name is listed as “GrassDoor Weed Recreational Marijuana Dispensary” and a disclaimer informs you that the statements regarding the products on the site aren’t FDA approved. What is missing here is any kind of California cannabis license number, which is nearly always included in the footer of any legitimate business. Searching on OpenCorporates reveals no such company by that name, either active or inactive. Searching the California Unified Cannabis License Search, and our own more user friendly version, returns no licensees with that name. 

A fake company wants you to know the government doesn’t approve of it!

Looking at the About Us page reveals something curious- the copy text is all about Caliva, which is… very clearly not Grassdoor, which is not mentioned at all on this page. The text asserts that Caliva is the premium cannabis retailer in the US, active for over a decade. This text is accompanied by a poorly cropped image of a jarred 8th, labeled Cresco. This seemingly random mix of poorly formatted text really demonstrates that this is meant to pass at a glance, not stand up to serious informed scrutiny. Caliva is an integrated cannabis services company with online sales owned by The Parent Company, and Cresco Labs is a huge MSO with a wide range of verticals. 

The more brand names and buzz words, the better, right?

Attempting to purchase a product on the site requires you to first select over 180$ in products, and then upon proceeding to checkout prompts you to contact support for payment. The support number given is a Google VOIP number listed in South-Central Florida. VOIP numbers are often used by scammers as a way to avoid direct accountability to cell service providers. A look at their Contact Us page reveals a FAQ that says they take payment over Apple Pay, Zelle, and Bitcoin- none of which are very legal. No Bitcoin address is listed so we could not check it out on a block explorer. As we’ve written before, blockchain payment for weed is a giant red flag. 

Also accepted are Zimbabwe dollars, magic beans, leprechaun gold, and writs from the King

Now that we’ve looked at all the obvious signs that this site is a scam, let's get more technical. The Wayback Machine is a tool from the Internet Archive which saves snapshots of websites over time, basically allowing you to go back and see what the site used to look like. The results for this site indicate that it was first built on March 23rd of this year. This early version had a different logo, and a slightly different selection of bad graphics, but was virtually the same. 

Strain? As in “we strain to see how this is credible”?

Another technical service that can be used to analyze sites is ICANN Lookup. This tool reveals information about the ownership of the web domain. Looking up Grassdoorweed on this site reveals that  the actual name of the owner is obscured, since the site was privately registered through Namecheap, a well known domain management company based out of Arizona. Date wise, the domain was registered in December 2022, and was renewed, likely automatically, just a few days ago on November 27th 2023. The use of Namecheap domains, even those with privacy services, is not inherently suspicious, as many legitimate sites operate through this registrar and most registrars offer domain privacy services. 

The basic whois report showing that the site is anonymously owned through a domain registrar 

We can conclusively say that this is a scam. But what does it mean? As far as we can guess, a year ago a scammer found out about Grassdoor as a well known delivery service, and decided to buy a similar domain, then in March they created a cheap knockoff to funnel gullible people into sending them payment information. How effective this scam is, or how long it will continue after the demise of the real Grassdoor is unknown. 

The tools and methods we used to inspect this site are all free, and we encourage you to use them yourself anytime you find a suspicious site. If you do find something fishy, please consider the following actions:

  • Report the scam to the State via their complaint form

  • If the site is an imitation of an existing site or brand, contact that brand directly and let them know.

  • Send a report to the FTC fraud site

  • AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Tell people! Blow it up on social media, get the word out there. Reporting to government agencies generally doesn’t result in action, and some brands are powerless to do anything about illegal imitations. 

As anyone who’s spent more than a week in this industry knows, there’s a lot of bullshit out there, and understanding what scam sites look like and how they work is a small way that we can all improve the safety and legitimacy of the industry. If you see something, say something!

In the words of George Bush: “There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.”

-The Higher Origins Team

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