Friday, July 2, 2010

Scammers Have Destroyed the Internet

Reuters reports that online scams cost individuals and businesses more than $500 million in losses in 2009, doubling 2007's figures. Scams have permeated the Internet from search results that feature malware-loading attack sites to phishing emails to even fake dating correspondence. Online fraud has so jeopardized trust in common Internet communication channels, that it can be credibly said that scammers have destroyed the Internet.

Previously trusted communications like bank email and other "official" notices can no longer be trusted.

Greed-based scams focus on "something for nothing." Nigerian "419" emails, "free iPod/iPad" redemption notices, and similar fraud fall under this heading.

"Today's online scammer is very sophisticated. They really know how to push the intended victim's psychological buttons. Indeed, one of the fastest growing "genres" of online scams, dating scams, exploit one of the most basic human needs--the need for love. You won't believe the emotional manipulation unscrupulous dating site affiliates will stoop to", says Thompson.

Posing as women, unethical dating site marketers, based on litigation records, use email, classified ads, chatrooms, and even webcams to snare unsuspecting victims. According to Thompson, it's gotten so bad that people looking for dates online must be extra suspicious of online personal ads to make sure they are genuine and not out to upsell them to a dating site subscription. Phishing and identity theft schemes are rampant and constantly evolving. From bank "notification" emails to domain registration emails to account notification to email attachments that load attack sites, phishing attacks have taken on a huge variety of forms that it is easy to get tricked into opening these types of emails or search results.

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