Free PDF to Word Converter Is A Scam!

image When is free, not free?

How about if you have to answer this question: 881 – (221 – (329 – 146) x 559)= ? or this question (274 – 332) – (34 x 504 – 813) = ? or……………. every time (after the fifth time, or so), you want to use the “free” application? But keep reading – all is not as it seems.

Normally, (but not always), when I recommend a piece of software I’ve tested it for a minimum of thirty days – banging it, slamming it, twisting it and turning it; all in an attempt to break it.

Some time ago, I downloaded Free PDF to Word Doc Converter (through Download.com), for testing. Since many developers choose to list their products features in this format, a PDF converter is the type of application that gets a workout around here.

The application I normally use for PDF conversion is, Nuance’s PDF Converter Professional 7. Average users however, are not likely to spent the hundred bucks for this application.

So, by the time I got around to using Free PDF to Word Doc Converter, for the fifth time, or so, the following screen appeared when I pushed the “convert” button.

image

My first response was annoyance. But, since this was part of testing the application, I went along with it.

image

After getting the FREE code and entering it in the appropriate box, the following warning appeared.

image

My first thought was – I made a mistake in the math. But that couldn’t be right since I actually got the code, and not an “incorrect answer” response. As well, while many people do crossword puzzles to keep their mind sharp, I work algebraic solutions every day, for the same purpose. I don’t normally make mistakes in basic math. But….

To be fair to the developer, I repeated this frustration process ten times. It turns out, the developer is an outright liar. This process is a scam – there is no way (despite inserting the correct code), to actually get free registration.

By this time I was pretty annoyed, so I dug into this app, and the developer, a little further. Additional investigation of the developer’s site showed that Norton DNS has now blocked this site, and with good reason. According to Norton – W32.Spybot.Worm, is imbedded in the site.

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So, not only is the developer a liar, he’s a cyber criminal hosting a malware site.

Despite this, Download.com continues to host this application. Albeit, on their own servers. I’m very disappointed that CNET would even consider hosting this piece of crap. Shame on you CNET – you’re supposed to be better than this!

If you need a free PDF reader/convertor that actually works, then checkout Nuance PDF Reader (registration required). The PDF conversion function, is a cloud based service.

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17 Comments

Filed under Bill's Rants, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, internet scams, Malware Advisories, Norton, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

17 responses to “Free PDF to Word Converter Is A Scam!

  1. Have you tried this program: http://www.pdftodocconverterpro.com? It converts PDF to editable formats, it is very quick and easy.

  2. Bill,

    Years ago when I was working and managing IT, and you found a solution to convert Word to PDF, you really thought you found something. NOW, there are so many, with similar titles, I can see the cyberbastards taking advantage of this and masking what appears to be a legit product but is really a wolf in sheeps clothing. I noticed on Download.com they really did not give good favor to this particular converter; however, the rating is 4 to 5 high. Now has me questioning their rating system or is it based on downloads?

    Rick

    • Hey Rick,

      Cyberbastards! Damn, that’s great! LOL

      I read the user comments at Download.com on this app, and I found no surprise.

      I’ve learned never to report CNET’s ratings, unless my own testing confirms it. It’s just too risky. This one is a perfect example.

      Have a great weekend.

      Bill

  3. How does Nuance handle a PDF created in Framemaker when it converts it to a Word file? Getting content from FM into Word has always been a royal pain for me. Frankly, I’d rather just stay in FM since it actually styles correctly as opposed to Word, but other people in the company only have Word, so sometimes they want a Word copy, and then I’ve got to jump through hoops.

  4. Ruchir Bansal

    Hi Bill,
    Nice to see that you are totally unbiased and will criticize even CNET if they are caught napping.So many downloads on CNET are fishy,rogue,malicious and it is provable.Only Softpedia sort of guarantees and is more reliable I infer.
    By the way if you had toshell 99 bucks,have u ever tried Solid PDF tools or Solid Document Converter-if you had just seen their clientele list you would have been in two minds.Solid doc converter is around 79$ and guess what if their testimony is correct,every paid user is using it.Although I think Nuance and its lineups like Omnipage are among the best in business.Not many high class rivals there.
    As always a great review.

    • Thanks Ruchir,

      One has to go where the evidence points, and in this case it’s evident that CNET let us down.

      Thanks for the tip on Solid PDF . I’ll check that out.

      Bill

  5. Ruchir Bansal

    @ Lilly,don’t know about its performance but it got a Pro Word in its arm.It increases its perception.Better if listed in Softpedia which says it scans every download in its Labs.So many much better paid converters-Foxit,Nitro,Tracker Software,Investintech,so many digitally signed,sound,rates at par.I forgot there are excellent free as well,don’t remember.But one site is 100% checkable-www.online-convert.com.It is a keeper.

  6. Mister Reiner

    Keep in mind, that a hacker can have several versions of a product posted on different sites, each with different intentions. Someone can post something at download.com that is totally harmless and then post the same product with malware on a different site or a site they control themselves.

    I’m not saying that this is the case in this situation.I just thought I would mention it.

    • Mr. Reiner,

      You make a good point, as you always do, and this is the case in this situation.

      This does not relieve CNET of the responsibility of ensuring that they do not provide aid to cyber criminals. Shoddy work on their part. Outrageous, actually.

      In future, any referenced CNET downloads recommended here, will carry a disclaimer.

      Bill

  7. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    I either download my software from CNET or FileHippo. As your article points out, CNET is not infallible, and so every download from the two sites mentioned is scanned twice, with an AV and anti-malware application. No site is perfect.

    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      As a high level user, you know better than to trust a download – no matter the site it comes from.

      After this episode with Free PDF, even thought the download from CNET was not infected (I scan each download with 2 AVs as well), in future, I’m going to add a reminder to readers to scan each download at least twice. As you point out “No site is perfect.” Thanks for bringing this point forward.

      Have a great weekend.

      Best,

      Bill

  8. dar

    g’day All,
    -figured out years ago, before commiting to ANY utility,regardless of rating,to do a search first:
    [prog name] ~sucks
    – in Feb2010,sweidre7 ,declared it noxious
    http://download.cnet.com/Free-PDF-To-Word-Doc-Converter/3000-2079_4-10792870.html
    cheers

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