Mogul Press: a shady “PR firm” that appears to be a scam.

No tax angle here, just a warning about a businesses that spams Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram users, and engages in deceptive advertising practices that may be illegal in the UK, EU and US. UPDATED as of 7 January 2024.1The original title of this post said Mogul Press “appears to be a scam”. I have now replaced that tentative conclusion. Further update 27 January 2024, following a fraudulent attempt to abuse copyright law to take down this article

In November 2023, I received a Twitter direct message:

I sent a polite response that we’re a non-profit and have a PR budget of £0.

Over the next few weeks I received three more identical messages:

That was weird enough to pique my interest. I particularly liked the claim from an outfit without a Wikipedia page that they can get you a Wikipedia page.

I asked PR/media contacts – nobody had heard of Mogul Press.

The Mogul Press website (I won’t link) didn’t inspire confidence:

The case studies are all a bit odd – Mogul adds a reassuring caveat that they’re “derived from actual clients”:

So I asked the helpful Mogul people if this was a scam, and received three identical responses assuring me that it wasn’t:

Being the suspicious type, I then ran some reverse-image searches on the profile photos. They’ve been stolen from stock image libraries and from real peoples’ Twitter and LinkedIn profiles:

I asked Agatha, Ana, Verna and Polly about this, and didn’t receive a reply.

I’m guessing their names are fake too – they don’t show up as Mogul employees on LinkedIn. There are some Mogul employees on LinkedIn but, inevitably, the first two I checked also have fake profile photos:

At which point I called it a day.

If I’d done some research first, I would have found that lots of other people on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have received similar messages. Some subsequently received threats of dire consequences for being mean about Mogul (the force of such threats being slightly blunted by coming from gmail accounts).

I gave Mogul the opportunity to respond. They sent me a strange answer which fails to explain why all their employees have fake profiles, and offers the odd defence that the fake pictures “can be found on Google”. They assured me the photos would be taken down – they haven’t been.

Needless to say, normal people working for normal businesses don’t use stolen profile photos, or send threats from gmail accounts. My assumption was that Mogul Press was some kind of scam, and I thought it would be helpful to put a page up to assist anyone else who runs across them.

January 2024 update

On 26 December 2023 I received an email from the CEO of Mogul Press, Nabeel Ahmad, asking me to take down this article, and then eventually threatening me with UK libel proceedings if I don’t.

He said he would tell his team to stop using pictures of real people, and only fake AI generated images (which is apparently “common practice”. He said “You have my word that I will be strictly enforcing this going forward.”

So I was amused to see that, on that day, the first LinkedIn profile I found of a Mogul Press employee:

stole a photo from this very real UK tax adviser:

The rest of the correspondence isn’t very interesting, but I’ve uploaded a copy here. In short, Ahmad:

  • Admits that his employees use fake names and fake photos on social media, with some photos AI generated, some stolen from real people. He can’t explain why this continued after I called them on this in November. He says they won’t steal photos again, but it’s clear they will continue to use fake names and AI generated photos. He thinks that is fine and “common practice”.
  • Admits to spamming users on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. He says this practice “can be breaking laws of specific regions” which is correct, if “can” means “is definitely” and “specific regions” means the US, EU and UK.
  • Admits to renting fake LinkedIn profiles with fake names for “mass outreach”, including from a business called Akountify (which has also been criticised for their business practice). He says this is “common practice”. Akountify, in the comments below, claim that they told Mogul Press to stop using fake profile photos, and sacked them as a client when they kept doing it.
  • Admits that all of this breaks the terms of service of LinkedIn etc, but says that’s between him and LinkedIn. The use of fake sender names in marketing messages is specifically outlawed in the US, EU and UK.
  • Didn’t respond when I asked if his business was really a PR business, or a mostly automated business which spams people to get clients, and then charges them to place paid advertorials in poor quality media.
  • Didn’t respond when I suggested this was a very different proposition from the story told on their website and in their marketing messages.

Ahmad is adamant that his business is genuine and not a scam, and claims that this article is costing him $450k in lost revenue per month. He says I have “no real proof” Mogul is a scam, and that “just because you think we are one does not give you the right to publicly declare us as a scam, and damage our business this way.”

I’m afraid Ahmad is wrong. It’s my opinion that spamming2This is the first TikTok link on the Tax Policy Associates website people with deceptive marketing, allowing your staff to steal photos from real people, and pretending to be one kind of business when you’re actually something different, is somewhere between “deeply shady” and “scam”. That is legally protected speech in the UK and the US. And it’s an opinion that seems fairly widely held.

Suing me for libel would be entertaining for everyone involved, but I’ve suggested to Ahmad that he may wish to obtain legal advice on some other points first:

  • I’m not a US-qualified lawyer, but I spoke to a couple this morning who suggested that marketing cross-border using fake identities may amount to “obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises”, and therefore constitute the Federal crime of “mail fraud“.
  • I’m also not an EU/UK privacy law specialist, so I asked one what the EU/UK GDPR consequences would be for a business stealing profile photos of multiple individuals and using those photos in fake profiles for approaching potential customers. The answer was “hilariously bad”.

I’ve told Ahmad I’ll be happy to change my mind if he stops spamming people, stops using fake profiles, and starts accurately describing his business in his marketing. I’m optimistic I’ll hear back from him on this soon.

Another January 2024 update

Mogul have revamped their website, and it now gives the game away that this isn’t PR at all – it’s paid placements in low media outlets:

That is not at all what their direct marketing says.

Mogul’s response to this article wasn’t to contest any of its factual content, but to file a DCMA takedown request on the basis that the article breaches their copyright. Given that “fair use” for the purposes of criticism is protected by US copyright law, this was clearly in bad faith. We’ve filed a “counter-notice“; in principle I could claim damages against them.

February 2024 update

Shortly after publishing this article, the Tax Policy Associates website suffered a substantial “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attack – using hacked servers from around the world to overload our website:

We expect this attack was initiated by Mogul Press – thanks to technical help from T Star Tech and others, this was easily overcome.

  • 1
    The original title of this post said Mogul Press “appears to be a scam”. I have now replaced that tentative conclusion.
  • 2
    This is the first TikTok link on the Tax Policy Associates website

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21 responses to “Mogul Press: a shady “PR firm” that appears to be a scam.”

  1. The whole company culture is toxic everyone comes and leaves after 2 to 3 months
    They want their employes to work without breaks and day offs
    And yes O saw emails in CRM where Nabeel never replied to those where the client asking them to refund
    Toxic CEO
    Now they are rewamping the Mogul with New name IMPACT AUTHORITY
    to make people fool again

  2. These scammers in the name of PR will publish your blog on a website with 0 traffic and can charge you 100-1000$

  3. Wow you found out a much deeper level of how far down the scam rabbit hole these guys really go. Unfortunately, we have been one of their victims and we didn’t realize it until it was too late to get a credit card refund, but since then I’ve been doing my own deep dive into their practices and have compiled a list of all of the shell websites that they own that are fake, including all these:

    NY Daily Trends
    The Chicago Weekly
    Daily Hampshire
    The Chicago Weekly
    Alabama Weekly Digest
    Miami Daily Post
    Pennsylvania Daily Post
    The Croatia Times
    NY Daily Trends
    The Tribune Post
    Buzz Sentinel
    The Ohio Daily
    California Daily Review

    All of their websites that they post to are owned by the same company through their ICANN website registration.

  4. What is typical about these email marketing campaigns and the website they direct you to is that there is no business address or tax information listed. For a UK company which most of the time is listed then the following requirements are

    On business letters, order forms and websites, you must show:
    the company’s registered number.
    its registered office address.
    where the company is registered (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland)
    the fact that it’s a limited company (usually by spelling out the company’s full name including ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’)

    Companies who don’t follow these usually look unprofessional and red flags should be going off. It would be difficult to justify signing up for a PR service to represent everything you believe in to a company that doesn’t even have a postal address!

  5. Received this same scam e-mail months ago. I too have reported this site and others for sketchy practices. What’s interesting is that I didn’t find this page by searching the web for the company, I found it by using Lumen. It just so happened we ran across the same company recently. Glad to know there are others who fight against scams like this. Check out “Scammer Payback” on YouTube, you will surely appreciate it. You might even e-mail their business department and see if they’re interested in doing a story on it. It’s odd to me – the business does so many things to make it appear legitimate, it could probably do less work if it was actually legitimate. They spend more time faking it than making it.

  6. [DAN NOTE: I don’t know if this comment is real or a hoax. It has a number of elements consistent with what I know about Mogul Press (not all of which has been published, so I am retaining it for now. However I am redacting the recommended PR firm at the end]

    Former Mogul Press employee here – I’m so glad someone is FINALLY doing something about this!

    For privacy reasons, I won’t disclose my name as we can already see how Nabeel likes to threaten people with legal action – but I spent a while working at the company and came in when it was in the early stages. I was able to see it grow into what it is now, and from the start there have been deceptive business practices.

    For one – the adverts they’d put out would promise to get people featured on Forbes magazine, and then later started offering TIME and Inc magazine. Whenever we’d ask Nabeel if we’d ever actually featured a client on these magazines – he’d always dodge the question and talk about how people would be featured on “Forbes Australia” or the like, and that we couldn’t guarantee certain publications would be available.

    The fact that the adverts literally say “we will feature you on Forbes, Inc, and TIME magazine 100% guaranteed or we’ll refund you”, and Nabeel tells us we can’t guarantee this just doesn’t add up.

    To date, I’ve still NEVER seen a single client get featured on any of these publications. Definitely not the USA version.

    In addition to that, most of the sales team would REGULARLY hear their clients complaining about the sub-par quality of articles, how they sound like they were written by AI, half of the articles that were published weren’t even in the agreed upon publications that had been listed in the written contract, and the “writing” team would literally copy paste articles across publications and change a few words at the beginning to make it look slightly different.

    Not only is this unprofessional, but these articles would end up getting flagged for plagiarism and actually hurt the reputation of the client rather than boosting it. I can’t tell you how many angry emails I would see in the CRM from clients 3 months after they’d paid us. Definitely not a confidence booster. Clients would also NOT be given a refund in the event that the company messed up. Despite a written contract outlining a clear refund policy if the exact publications were not delivered, the company would proceed to deliver sub-par PR in different placements (a violation of the contract) and then proceed to not refund the client. Before I left the company, I noticed several email threads in the CRM from clients threatening to sue the company, and notes listed on the leads saying “IGNORE – DO NOT CONTACT”. There were also several threads where Nabeel threatened to publish negative press articles about certain smaller clients that had posted negative reviews about us online and email those negative press articles to everyone in their network. This is how he blackmailed everyone into deleting their negative reviews from the internet. Funny how a PR firm starts resorting to Mafia tactics just to keep their own reputation somewhat clean…

    We ended up finding out later that the entire “writing team” is actually based in Pakistan. There are no American writers on payroll – instead it’s Pakistani VA’s using these alias names to appear credible to clients that pay 5-6 figures for PR. We also found out that Nabeel owns several of the publications he would be featuring clients on, and passing them off as “high ranking mid-tier publications” – when in reality they’re ghost sites with essentially 0 active users that he’d just publish articles on to say “look we got you published”.

    In my personal opinion, Nabeel believes that if a client is unhappy – he could just take the position of “we don’t own Forbes, we cannot control what they do. We’ll feature you on mid-tier publications first, and then use that to make a case to Forbes that you deserve to be featured”. It’s not illegal to suck – it’s only illegal to blatantly lie. I guess this way it just makes him look like an amateur instead of a liar. But I’m not a legal expert.

    Nabeel also has given 0 consideration towards the client experience, or even the culture of the company. It really feels like his only focus is to take as much money from people with as little effort as possible. We had several different managers come in and out of the company – they’d always come in with great experience and ideas about how to make the company better, but they’d all leave after a few months due to disagreements with Nabeel. I think it’s safe to say that they saw all this with their own eyes, and left afterwards. Either because it wasn’t worth their time to fix it, or because Nabeel was too narcissistic to let them.

    He liked to keep a company culture of everyone beneath him being an easily replaceable slave who should be happy and grateful for the opportunity to work in “the #1 fastest growing PR firm in the world” (as quoted by his paid sponsorship for Mogul Press on IBT Singapore) – yet only 1 person in the company was even making 10k/mo (the top sales rep). He expected everyone to devote their life to the company, yet nobody had a base salary, benefits, or even acknowledgements for a job well done.

    Personally I think Nabeel is an extremely insecure person who thinks he’s better than everyone else because he has a bit of money and a couple articles online talking about how “great” he is (that he paid for). He had no interest in actually helping other people win and grow. Any real client that came in the door was disappointed with the service (to put it politely).

    I highly recommend anyone looking to get PR work done check out ******REDACTED******. They’re actually good at what they do and aren’t a scam. Feel free to spread this around!

  7. Thank you for this article. I just received a direct email from them (not the first time) and thought to do some due diligence on them. Your article saved me the trouble of going any further. Thank you!

  8. Hi! The guys from Akountify here!

    Just wanted to add more details to this really detailed narrative circling Mogul Press.

    For one, what they said about our profiles is absolutely false. We do not use fake accounts nor fake pictures, at all. It is essentially our differentiating factor from every account provider that deals with fake identities, stock pictures, or AI generated ones. All incredibly sketchy.

    So much so, that we also STRICTLY state that changing the pictures is against our terms. This is both on our website, our terms, also explained in demo calls before clients sign up, and even on the Slack channels we open for support right after they do.

    Now, about said Slack channel. We had one with Mogul Press. In fact, still do. I have extracted at least 35 instances where we specifically told their team (Sidra, Indra, Nabeel Ahmad, Heena Khalid, Abu Bakr, Haider Ali, Iffa Anwar, and a few others) NOT to change the profile pictures for fake ones and even OBLIGED them to delete or change back the ones they changed. (all of them)

    This happened in June, 2023 and led to a huge argument that even had us drop them as clients for not following our terms. 2 or 3 weeks after, Nabeel messaged me on Whatsapp letting me know they would be following our terms and best practices, and asking if we could provide more accounts. We took his word again and signed him up. Nothing changed.

    Now about us: Akountify is a marketplace that connects freelancers, appointment setters, and lead gen specialists with resources they don’t use (like their own accounts, for instances) with B2B companies already looking to scale their LinkedIn outreach campaigns. Rather than paying full-time salaries for an SDR to prospect on LinkedIn (as companies normally do), you pay a fraction and can get an army of them. But again, you’re hiring the freelancer and his account, not stealing it. We have contracts with every account-renter, and they are ALL in our payroll.

    Would love to send over some juicy snippets proving every little detail I mentioned here. We have it all in a Google Drive document extracted from their Slack chat.

  9. It’s these types of posts that make me cringe. It’s disheartening to see someone be able to bash a company they know nothing about. So, you are saying that you’re not even a client? People like you who defame companies should be held liable for any damages to the company. I know people who’ve used this company and have had amazing results. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  10. Thanks for sharing this—My first step when they contacted me using two separate DMs on X, had me doing due diligence. I searched “Mogul PR Scam” on DuckDuckGo and you came up in the top three, but clearly looked like the most erudite analysis. I was NOT disappointed by the content and the time you saved me. It takes good people like you to make the Web a safer place. Happy New Year🎊 and thanks again.
    Warm regards,
    Russ Grayson

  11. Hi
    So I also wanted to check this “company”. but the other way around being a pr specialist contacting business owners and making 10k a month probably scammingpeople. Your article save me a headache 🙏🏼

  12. Thanks for putting up this comprehensive article! I just received a similar message and went to google them. Your article appears on the first page. You saved me some time and a headache today. Appreciate you 🙂

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