Abuse: Melton West, VIC, Australia
I cam across a fake nomination in Melton West, Victoria. Through some investigation of nearby Wayspots I uncovered a number of fakes. I am not sure how deep this rabbit hole goes, but here is what I have found so far.
Tagging @Unicornsrule107-PGO because they already started uncovering this abuse months ago in this thread: https://community.wayfarer.nianticlabs.com/discussion/22560/fake-wayspot-locations-in-point-cook-victoria/p1
Green Dragonflies Mural
Nominated location: -37.6658479,144.5577647
Actual location: Stolen from existing portal @ https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-27.457889,153.181415
This park was located right below the faked Wayspot. The s2 grid overlay shows that it has been 100% optimised for Pokemon Go POIs. A number of these Wayspots are confirmed as stolen from existing portals in other locations.
Birds Main Lake #1
- Fake location: -37.666563,144.55753
- Real location: Stolen from https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.69235,144.589043
Birds Main Lake #2
- Fake location: -37.667397,144.557343
- Real location: Stolen from https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.692531,144.58747
Birds Main Lake #3
- Fake location: -37.667071,144.55767
- Real location: Stolen from https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.693981,144.587341
Birds Small Lake
- Fake location: -37.666496,144.558133
- Real location: Stolen from https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.692061,144.590508
Frog Dreaming - Art Installation
- Fake location: -37.666136,144.557174
- Real location: Actual sculpture is at -37.881645,144.735737. https://www.wyndham.vic.gov.au/venues/frog-dreaming-2011-maree-clarke-vicki-couzens-jeph-neale.
Comparing the POI photo to the photo from the website, you can see a common gazebo shape on the left, and a car park in the background of the Wayspot photo which doesn't match the surrounding area.
Other Questionable Wayspots:
These are ones which I suspect are also stolen from other locations but I haven't found the original source.
The Wheely Awesome Bench
- Background does not match Streetview, which is only six months old. Differences include the fence design, plus there is no tree at this location large enough to cast a shadow as seen in the Wayspot photo.
Red & White Dogs Utility Box - Borrowdale Rd
- Wayspot photo shows two utility boxes close together, whereas the recent Street View and satellite only show one. The utility box with the mural cannot be the one shown on Street View due to different proximity to the footpath, but the utility box appears old and worn in parts so it is unlikely to have been built in the last six months. Additionally, there is a very unique lamp post structure which I could not find anywhere on the surrounding Street View.
Coloured Rectangles Utility Box - Mint Blvd
- This is one which @Unicornsrule107-PGO flagged as a likely fake in their thread in September 2021. In addition to the background fencing not matching, and it not appearing on the nearby Street View from Jan 2021, if you go to the street view from the opposite side of the park then you can see that it was not painted as of July 2021, only a month before Unicornsrule107 posted the image of it. If you check your approval logs and it turns out that this was submitted before July 2021 then that would be proof that it is faked.
Harkness to Melton Trail Map
- Okay so this is a really weird one. The background imagery 100% matches the stated location: it is the same house, give way sign and road, for sure. But look at the "YOU ARE HERE" marker in the map. This sign is supposed to be located 8 kilometres away. There is a portal at the actual location: https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.733297,144.577816, which shows the same map. Has the sign been physically moved from its real location to 8 kilometres away so someone can get another Pokestop?
I have suspicions that the series of memorial plaques located near -37.664708,144.54985 are all actually located at Federation Drive (near -37.677108,144.598556). This include one which says "Federation Thanks" -- indicating it is part of the Federation Drive series (there is nothing near this road called "Federation").
None of these Wayspots match live Ingress ones at Federation Drive, but this article (https://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/north-west/memorial-plaques-stolen-from-meltons-avenue-of-honour/news-story/e3384fdaac8654c11e1d895158449dbd) indicates that there are "100 plaques, set in concrete underneath trees along Federation Drive", as of 2016. Only 11 of these plaques are Wayspots in Ingress, so I suspect that the submitter has photographed other plaques from there and has submitted them remotely / from the gallery. Note that once again, the part on the right has been optimised for level 17 s2 cells to maximise Pokestop/Gym output.
There are also at least 18 small trail markers that I am extremely suspicious about. Could they have been printed and then attached to random poles/trees/fence posts? In the case of at least one, the shadow gives away that the screws are not actually screwed in for real.
There is no reference online to the "Melton Trail Network" anywhere. All are conveniently placed to make additional Pokestops/Gyms, and they only seem to appear in the corner of the suburb where the other fraudulent/fake nominations are.
This is not what standard trail markers look like, either. These are the actual trail markers all throughout the suburb.
I could be wrong about these. If any players from the local area read this, I would be very curious to see if any of those circular trail markers can be found in real life.
But anyway, I think given the high level of abuse already proven through stolen Wayspots that there should be a heightened level of scrutiny should be applied to the area and to all submissions from those player(s).
I have found Wayspot at that park full of fakes which appears to belong somewhere else.
Goanna Wood Carved Log Seat - Art Installation
A whole extra park of fakes found nearby the first. I'll probably break this over two posts due to the size.
The following Wayspots actually exist at the Melton Botanic Gardens, a few kilometres away from this park. I have compared the photographs of the signs to verify they are actually identical, not just similar. I won't post all of the images here, but this is an example. (Left = Fake location, Right = Real location; note the warping near the top scr-ew)
All have had new photos taken but the signs and backgrounds can be matched. Additionally, many of the signs include the "Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden" in the bottom right, indicating that this is the correct location.
North Pond Brookfield
Indigenous Gardens Brookfield
Local Bushfoods Brookfield
Moths and Butterflies Brookfield
Traditional Use Brookfield
The Bushfood Garden Brookfield
Lathams Snipe Brookfield
Small Lake Brookfield
Woodland Birds Brookfield
Latham's Snipe Brookfield
Minibeasts (2) Brookfield
Minibeasts (1) Brookfield
Healthy Waterways Brookfield
This one I wanted to be really sure about, because the sign is fairly generic and I thought it might actually be real. But small marks on both signs and the steel pole are identical. (Left = Fake location; Right = Real location)
Next set of abuse in the same area... More trail markers have been intentionally misplaced. The "YOU ARE HERE" gives away the true locations.
Black Dog Trail Marker
Image comparison. Note the crude use of the purple paintbrush tool to hide the more obvious park locations from the bottom of the sign. The image is an exact copy, but lower resolution.
330m To Black Dog Dr Reserve
The two images look different, but that is just because they are opposite sides of the same sign. The real image has north pointed south, and the fake image is the reverse with north pointed up. The fake location should be marked as a duplicate of the real location.
Aviator Place Trail Marker / Billing Place Trail Marker
Fake #2 shows the same side of the trail marker as the real Wayspot. Fake #1 shows the opposite side. The fakes have been placed 300-800 metres away from the real location. (Note: North is down on these maps.)
Fake #1 has a very blurry image, but the map can still be made out. North is up on this map because it is the reverse side of the trail marker. It is located in exactly the same position as the other two images, in the corner near C. J. Melrose Reserve Playground.
A change of pace from trail markers...
Betty on the Pole
Wayspot photo was stolen. The real one is visible on street view.
I will keep looking, but I really hope that the action taken on these Wayfarers is significant to stop them starting up this abuse all over again. Stealing Wayspot photos from 10s, 100s, even 1000s of kilometres away isn't an 'accident'. It is deliberate abuse of the system.
Adding the the pile, another fake nomination at the same park as the first post...
"Aliens are coming mural", -37.670886,144.55759.
Fence doesn't match, position of the footpath doesn't match, shape of the utility box is completely different.
Presumably another Wayspot photo stolen from somewhere else.
I was right to be suspicious of that string of memorial plaques. I have confirmed that over half of those are faked locations.
Ruby Muriel Gillespie
"Ted" Edward Arthur Hill
Wright Memorial Plaque
Bruce Edward Jackson
Ron Russell (Big Red)
Saint Dominic's Catholic Church
Other plaques which are in the fake areas, and are almost 100% definitely not located there:
Here is a map showing the locations of fakes.
Yellow = Memorial plaque which a real location has been found.
Blue/Purple = Memorial plaque which the real location has not been found.
Fake Area #1:
Fake Area #2:
The real areas have a common design with a tree surrounded by wooden posts with the plaque in front of it. The wooden posts are visible in some of the photos.
These trees and wooden posts are very distinctive and are missing from all the fake areas.
More trail markers...
Raleighs Rd Trail Marker
The photograph has been doctored to remove the red "YOU ARE HERE" with the street name. Fake Wayspot:
The reverse side of the sign is already a Wayspot at the correct location. (Image below; north is down)
Blamey Drive Trail Marker
This one uses the exact same doctored image as "Raleighs Trail Marker".
Based on the location marker on the map, and confirmed by Street View.
Toolern Park Trail Marker 2 / Toolern Creek Trail Marker 8
These appear to be reverse sides of the same trail marker, with Trail Marker 8 in the correct location. The north direction is reversed on each map, and the footpath is on the opposite side, consistent with the same trail marker photographed from both sides. The shape of the river implies they are at the same location.
Above Left: Trail Marker 8 (North is up). Above Right: Trail Marker 2 (North is down). The signs were photographed on angles, so the added green lines were drawn parallel to the underlined "YOU ARE HERE". Both green lines make the same angle from the peak of the curving river to the dot.
Toolern Creek Reserve Map
Wayspot was possibly placed at the wrong spot to avoid proximity exclusion. The trail marker map clearly shows that it in on the main trail through the park, not near the river. Note that this is the same trail marker which was possibly physically moved to suburban Melton West (reported in an earlier post).
Fraser Street Reserve Marker
While verifying the accuracy of trail markers, I came across this one which was legitimate, but has since been permanently removed from the location, as per Street View. It was present in Jul 2019 but absent in Jan 2021 and Jul 2021.
Melton Waves Trail Marker
Similar to previous. It was legitimate, but in the process of checking each trail marker I am pretty sure that it no longer exists. The area where it was previously located has now had a new road constructed there sometime between 2014 and 2021. The map on the trail marker was from before the road was constructed, as Brooklyn Road does not continue past the trail marker dot on the map.
Next abuse category:
There are green signs at the Melton Botanic Garden which identify plants in the aboretum. These signs include "Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden" on them.
A submitter has taken photos of the real signs at Melton Botanic Garden, and then has submitted them at other locations.
At least one of the signs submitted elsewhere is also a Wayspot at the Melton Botanic Garden, and this can be used to prove that the submitter has been faking locations.
Each Wayspot has a new photo of the sign, but the signs themselves are identical, including the dog-earred top left corner.
The following Wayspots are others I have come across that would similarly be located in the Botanic Garden, but have been submitted elsewhere. None of the signs are visible on Street View (despite it being fairly recent -- July 2021), and all of the signs say "Friends of the Melton Botanic Garden" on them. All of the below lists would have been submitted with fake locations:
The more I investigate, the more fakes and frauds I find.
This one takes the cake though in terms of distance.
Leichhardt Pine Plaque
Earlier I posted that I believed that "The Wheely Awesome Bench" (https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.667756,144.558139) was faked. Turns out someone took a screenshot of the review and posted it online. This has allowed me to see the supporting photo, which not match (e.g. the wheel spokes are different). Furthermore, the "supporting photo" is actually stolen from the cover photo from another Wayspot 80 kilometres away! (https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-38.080843,145.463998)
The Unity Tree Plaque
Real plaque is located at a War Memorial located 1.5 kilometres away. This website (https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/multiple/display/109919-centenary-of-anzac) shows photos of the plaque and a wider shot showing the memorial in the background. These background elements can be used to confirm the real location.
This one is a photoshop. The brass plaque on the front has been photoshopped in from an image on the internet (https://www.barcoproducts.com/cast-bronze-plaques) overlayed onto a concrete stone. There is no "Waldrop School" in Australia.
Leichhardt Pine - Part 2
This portal which I reported yesterday (https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.679763,144.560383) was fully deployed on by a single Ingress player (Level 8 portal decked out with hack mods). I reached out to them on Comms to see if they would be able to assist in confirming fakes in the area. I wasn't sure at the time whether they were local or had just flipped it while passing through.
They attempted to lie about the real location and tried to convince me that the one in Victoria was the real one. They also admitted that there are "200+ fake ones" on High Street, in Arnold's Creek and Brookfield (locations I have flagged earlier on in this topic) but they said they aren't going to report them.
I have posted the Comms discussion here. I have partially redacted their name for privacy reasons.
In talking with them, I realised further image doctoring on the image for Melton, Victoria. A line was cut from the photo which included the location "Shire of Wyndam - East Kimberley" (Western Australia). Further evidence that there has been explicit manipulation of images to fool Wayfarer reviewers & Niantic. All Wayspots submitted by these people should be treated with the utmost level of scrutiny. If it cannot be proven to be there, it should be assumed to be fake.
Next section of abuse I would like to flag is incorrect positioning of real-life items in order to manipulate the game board. While this is not directly related to portal removals, it is 100% part of the ongoing Wayfarer abuse in that area.
Some of the areas where fraud is happening have outdated satellite imagery on Google Maps, and this has allowed the submitters to get creative with placements in order to maximise the number of POIs that appear in Pokemon Go. I have managed to find another website with more updated imagery, and it shows the extent of the abuse that has been occurring with regards to POI placement. In the first example I am going to give below, what should have been one Pokestop ended up turning into 5 Pokestops and 2 Gyms by intentionally spreading apart Wayspots, moving individual locations up to 50 metres in the wrong spot.
These items should be corrected, but IMPORTANTLY, when moved you need to make sure that you don't end up creating a cluster. Right now, whenever Wayfarer team moves a POI, it is staying as a Pokestop/Gym in Pokemon Go. If that happens here, then the abuser will still have 5 Pokestops and 2 Gyms, but now they will be clustered together which is even better for them. This is what happened with the Vietnam museum cluster. If you do this, you are only going to reward the abuse, and encourage more of the abuse. Wayfarer team may need to communicate with the Pokemon Go team to ensure that after the edit, the correct number of POIs populate the game based on the normal proximity rules.
Marlo Drive Reserve
Map link: https://satellites.pro/Melbourne_map.Australia#-37.668077,144.557031,19
(Note: When you move the cursor over a different map feature, the URL will change. That is where my correct lat/long coordinates below have come from).
Movement of the seven central portals should be as indicated (follow the purple line to the grey marker). Note that previously these seven Wayspots occupied seven level 17 cells (= seven Pokestops/Gyms), but if placed correctly should have all occupied one and only one would be in the game.
Oakpark Drive Reserve
Map link: https://satellites.pro/Melbourne_map.Australia#-37.663335,144.538921,19
Distances have been placed far apart so that there will be four game items instead of one. For example, the frogs are so close to the gazebo that they can be seen in the gazebo's primary photo -- they are just metres apart. Yet, in game, they are located 70 metres apart.
And here is what those changes would look like on the map...
The reason for the falsified locations in this case is to avoid potentially losing nominations due to the 20 metre proximity rule. All four Wayspots are very close together, and under the proximity game rules at the time, only one would have been able to be accepted at the correct location. That means only one portal/Pokestop. Instead, by falsifying locations there are four portals/three Pokestops and a gym.
(Below is the same map with 20 metre circles around each of the correct locations (grey pins).
This was was visible on Google Maps anyway, but there are multiple Wayspots that have been misplaced. In every case, it has been misplaced in a way to manipulate the gameboard.
The last two are two pieces of playground equipment that in real life are 20 metres from each other in the same playground. They should be a single Wayspot. Instead, they have been submitted as two separate Wayspots which are 70 metres apart.
Okay, so more updates on the Melton fake uncoverings. But in the process I have discovered a whole new set of fakes in the City of Wyndham, Victoria. I'm going to need time to work my way through all those fakes... But in the meantime, here is what I've uncovered for Melton.
Coloured Rectangles Utility Box - Mint Blvd
This has now been confirmed as a fake.
The two fakes use almost identical images, but the fake in Melton is slightly more cropped on the top to cut off the street name. The Fake #2 shows a give way sign and a street name for "Malibu Blvd" (which neither of them are on).
The real location was found by comparison with Street View. The Street View pre-dates the box painting, but the give way sign and street sign can be seen. Furthermore, the awnings on house behind the street sign match too.
Red & White Dogs Utility Box - Borrowdale Rd
I am still working on trying to find the original location of this box, but it will not be in Melton. I believe this one to also be stolen from the City of Wyndham, just like the above one was. I found these images on their website which do not show this exact box, but show two of a matching style. https://www.wyndham.vic.gov.au/wyndham-parks-2021-project-20172018-highlights
These murals were painted in 2017/2018, as per the website. Before when I commented on this portal, I explained how it wasn't on Street View from July 2021, and that it looked too worn to be brand new. I now believe it to have been painted in 2017/2018 in the City of Wyndham, along with the other matching murals, and that is why it now looks worn.
I have checked most of the surrounding areas for fakes.
There are another 20 or so Wayspots which I feel may be fake, and I am attempting to find proof. However, in the meantime, I have come across a further two which should be removed.
I went to the are today. From your map
I can confirm Fake Area 2 is almost all fakes except for the foot bridges and blue trail maker poles. Here are some photos I took today.
The bottom right (south east) is actually a undeveloped padlock see photos below.
Looking south west from the welcome to Melton portal (https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.690077,144.577368)
Looking North East from the (fake) Brian Morison Memorial Plaque (https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.690438,144.575522)
most of Fake Area 2 is a walking trail with the most south western part just a track trough paddock. I have reported the portals as no longer there on scanner too. I also submitted actual photos via the scanner but I suspect they will get rejected.
In the same area there are paques copied from the Melton Botanical gardens like Corymbia Maculata- Spotted Gum (https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.686246,144.57119). These plaques do not exist in Fake Area #2. They are from thee botanical gardens about 2km away.
Other fake plaques on Fake area #2 are:
You can verify this by scanning the QR codes on the signs which take you to the botanical gardens.
This plaque is not as either of the 3 locations. I deployed on all three of them today and reported all three as invalid.
I can confrim these (in general) are markers used to signpost mixed use bike/walking paths. I signed quite a few of them as I walked the trails today. Unless I capped the protal and did not report it as invalid I cannot vouch for them.
Thank you so much @theChandi-ING . Having eyes on the ground has provided evidence for those things I was 99% sure about. I suspected the Spotted Gum tree sign as fake but could not prove it without someone going there.
A new fake Wayspot has been approved just today.
Mini Beasts - Insects and Bugs Educational Sign
Well as expected I got a series of rejections for the portal reports provided for last week for portals in Fake Area # 2. I am unsure if I should bother putting together any appeals as I don't think I can document the false portals any better than already done by @Tntnnbltn-ING. Rejected removal requests are for:
I had planned to go up to Melton again this week to report the other fake portals but considering the results so far I am not encouraged to take the time.
Niantic removed 20 Wayspots there since my first report, but that was last week before your visit. There has been nothing removed since the weekend. I am hoping that there will start to be some more movement here now that the work week is back...
If you do decide to go back, there's some things in the other area that I would love to get a real set of eyes on, including "Detailed Airbrush Portrait: The 12 Apostles" (https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.665301,144.553203), the five "History of Melton" markers (including this one with floating screws: https://intel.ingress.com/?pll=-37.667836,144.543223) and the numerous trail markers that say "Part of the Melton Trail Network" at the bottom.
Guess who's also been returned to this forum @NianticGiffard @NianticVK @NianticAtlas
Almost all of the portal reports via scanner have been rejected. But I have also noticed that most of them have also been removed. Some feedback from Niantic on this thread or some where else would have been nice
@theChandi-ING I am guessing it is because their preference is to finish the investigation before commenting.
I have been watching the order of Wayspots removed and they have generally been removing things in the order they were posted. They must be near the bottom of the report, because they have removed "Corymbia Maculata- Spotted Gum" (which you reported) and "Mini Beasts - Insects and Bugs Educational Sign" (which was the last one I've reported).
However, even they've removed approximately 50 Wayspots, around 1/3rd of what has been reported is still in the game. Some of the things don't make sense either. e.g. They removed eleven of the Botanic Garden signs from Brookfield, but left four of them. Is this an oversight of the person reading the report? Not sure how you miss deleting one in three reported fakes.
Once Niantic comments that the investigation is complete I am going to raise again all of the ones which were not actioned upon and see what happens.
Thanks @Tntnnbltn-ING . I think I will wait for Niantic to finish the investigation and make some sort of comment before heading up to Melton again. No use doubling up effort.
We have reviewed the report and have taken action on the 76 Wayspots and on 3 Wayfinders in accordance with our policies.
However, in order to remove the other Wayspots, we would need additional evidence (geotagged images, photospheres). Hence, if you may share additional information at your convenience, we can proceed to review the remaining ones.
The navan park pavilion stop has been incorrectly moved in your list of stops that you’ve flagged for relocations. The pavilion that you’ve moved, you’ve moved the pavilion to the block of toilets. And needs to be put back to the original stop where it was originally. In the photo itself, you can see the toilet block in the back of the photo. And also the gazebos, which can be used to clarify with the pre existing stop near the playgrounds. The yellow building is the toilet in which its been moved to.
Correct spot- -37.670057,144.56657