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Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas 2005 remembered

Christmas Day, last year, starting on vacation I also had to deal with the serious consequences of some Internet fraud fighting. The bad guys set up a Joe Job (the link leads to a Wikipedia entry describing this form of identy theft-fraud), and on the start of our family vacation in Los Angeles, I spent hours on the phone with the technical support technician at my Internet Service Provider, clarifying the situation and preventing disruption of my own Internet service.

The roots of this crisis can be traced to my postings on where I investigated an Internet scam, called Reality Millions, where the fraudsters claimed the ability to turn 'investors' into millionaires for $49.00. If this seems absurd, so did it to me that hundreds and possibly thousands fell for the scam, sending their money to "Midas" and "Touch" at anonymous address.)

The research took me around the world by phone and email and taught me a whole lot about the Internet's less-than-honorable underside. But, in the end, I backed off the investigation when thousands of email bounces started flooding my in-box on Christmas Eve, just before my vacation.

Why this investigation? I was trying a form of Internet marketing to interest potential associate publishers, figuring passing the 'smell test' with scam fighters could only help my business. See this thread:

Did the scam-fighting work? Well, the bad guys appear to have succeeded in staying out of jail, at least for now, but the scam fighters are as strong as ever in their determination to thwart them, and some of the scamming techniques they used last year thankfully won't work any more. I also received some useful inquiries from prospective publishers. And I appreciated more than ever how communities and connections work in the Internet's global scale.

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