Internet Users Hbk - Chapter 6c. Various Types and Examples of Internet Scams

Chapter 6c. Various Types and Examples of Internet Scams

6.10 Dating Scams/Romance Scams
Online dating scams and fraud are almost as old as Internet dating itself. Often called a Sweetheart Swindle this is often a long, drawn out process in which the con artist develops a relationship, and eventually convinces the victim to send money.

The scammer often meets the victim in chat rooms or via online dating sites. Their object is not to get into their hearts, but get into their wallets. They will try to earn someone's affections and trust so that they can persuade him/her to send money. The requests for money can either be a onetime event or repeated over an extended period of time. The details of the scammers' stories will vary with each case.

The scenario commonly revolves around a tragedy having befallen the scammer, and he/she desperately needs money. After spending time communicating and building a relationship with the victim, the scammer will ask for help in the form of money.

Most online dating services have a hard time dealing with scammers, outside of issuing warnings to their users to be alert for anyone you have never met asking for money.

Some potential indicators you may be dealing with a dating scam:

  • The online sweetie says, "I love you" almost immediately.
  • The person asks for money, to cash a check or money order.
  • The person claims to be a U.S. citizen who is abroad, well off, or a person of importance.
  • The person claims to be a contractor and needs help with a business deal.
  • The person claims to need money for a parent's "operation in the hospital".
  • The person will have a photo that is most attractive posted on the website, but will not be so willing to send you any other photos, there is always a problem with that. The photo is to get you attracted to him/her to begin the interest in building the relationship. Most likely, that is not a real photo of the scammer. Wikipedia
TIP: Most want to interact with you privately so they ask you to respond to their email address – in most cased they seem to like Yahoo email. While I have tried a number of these scams, Dating in not one of them - smiles

6.11 Click Fraud
The latest scam to hit the headlines is the multi-million dollar click fraud, which occurs when advertising network affiliates force paid views or clicks to ads on their own websites via spyware; the affiliate is then paid a commission on the cost-per-click that was artificially generated.

Affiliate programs such as Google's AdSense capability pay high commissions that drive the generation of bogus clicks. With paid clicks costing as much as US$100and an online advertising industry worth more than US$10 billion, this form of Internet fraud is on the increase.

6.12 Article – Click Fraud Avoid Pay-Per-Click Problems
One of the most important Internet marketing tools is PPC advertising. With Yahoo and Google leading the pack, the industry as a whole has grown immensely in the past few years. PriceWaterHouseCoopers reports that in 2004 alone, Internet Advertising brought in an estimated $9 billion dollars. Anybody can use this marketing system that is really quite simple in theory.

With PPC advertising you choose "keywords/phrases," then bid how much you would like to pay for each click. When a searcher goes to a search engine and types in one of your key phrases, your short text ad appears, and if someone clicks on it your account is then charged. In a "perfect world" this is the way it would work, but thanks to unscrupulous people, there is a dirty little secret known as "click fraud."

Click fraud is simply the act of clicking on ads for the direct purpose of costing the advertiser money. It is recognized as the biggest problem today in PPC marketing. According to, 60% of people surveyed by the "Search Engine Professional Organization" have stated that fraud is a problem when it comes to PPC advertising. PPC marketing can cost you a lot if you do not administer it right. Bad targeting plus fraud can be a costly problem. The main sources of click fraud are the following four

AdSense Users
Google AdSense has a program called "AdSense" that pays website owners to run their Adwords ads and compensates them per click. Google does monitor this and it is against their terms of service to click on any of the ads on your own site. If they find publishers doing this, they will lose their accounts, but some may still be clicking under the radar.

Your Own Competitors
Your competitors could be clicking on your ads over a period of several days in order to deplete your ad budget. This way they neutralize your advertising campaigns.

There are those who use automated clicking tools, such as robot programs, to click on PPC listings.

Paid Clickers
In some Asian countries, people are often paid to click on PPC ads for hours. Many do not know why they do it, and do not care. The only important issue is that they will be well rewarded for their efforts. If you do a search on any search engine you will see plenty of sites offering to hire people for just this purpose. Type in 'earn rupees clicking ads' in Google and you get quite a few leads.

Most PPC networks have measures in place to protect you against click fraud. Yahoo's Overture tracks more than 50 data points, including IP addresses, browser info, users' session info and what they call "pattern recognition." They have a "proprietary system" in place for detecting fraud and a specialized team that monitors things and works with the advertisers to stop it.

Google offers suggestions to avoid click thru fraud, such as "using negative keywords" to keep your ads from showing up for products and services that are unrelated. They also suggest adding tracking URL's to your links so you can track the traffic coming from Google. If you go through your log files, you'll be able to see your Google traffic at a glance.

If you suspect fraud, Google asks that you contact them right away, because they have a team of researchers that will investigate. They also take action to block future impressions from anyone they identify as committing click fraud.

Like Overture, they also have "proprietary technology" that distinguishes between normal clicks and invalid ones. Google never bills you for any "bad clicks" that are caught by their system.

All honest website owners need to be alert to any "suspicious activity" by researching their server logs or stats. If you're experiencing a lot of clicks and no sales you'll also want to take a closer look. You need to watch for any spikes in traffic, usually on one keyword or phrase and coming from only one PPC source. You need to measure and track all of your PPC accounts closely.

A variety of new services have opened recently to help combat the click fraud problem. Some of them also offer web analytic tools that help improve your advertising productivity. You may want to look at these outside services to take care of problems for you. Here are some links:

Click fraud is not going away anytime soon. Most probably, it will get worse before it gets any better. It's up to you as a vigilant website owner to do what you can to keep your PPC advertising costs down. You can't stop it, but with the right tracking in place, it can be managed and controlled, and hopefully kept to a minimum. InternetWorldStats

6.13 International Modem Dialing
Customers of dial-up Internet Service Providers, such as AOL, use a modem to dial a local connection number. Some web sites, normally containing adult content, use international dialing to trick consumers into paying to view content on their web site. Often these sites purport to be free and advertise that no credit card is needed.

They then prompt the user to download a "viewer" or "dialer" to allow them to view the content. Once the program is downloaded, it disconnects the computer from the Internet and proceeds to dial an international long distance or premium rate number, charging anything up to US$7-8 per minute.

An international block is recommended to prevent this, but in the U.S. and Canada, calls to the Caribbean (except Haiti) can be dialed with a "1" and a three-digit area code, so such numbers, as well as "10-10 dial-round" phone company prefixes, can circumvent an international block. One example is

6.14 Internet Marketing and Retail Fraud
This is a fast-growing area of internet fraud perpetrated by dishonest internet marketing and retail sites. A variety of products and services are involved. The customer is tricked by a legitimate-looking site and effective marketing into giving their credit card information and CVV number, or sending cash by other means, in exchange for what they believe to be the goods or services. The goods never arrive, or they turn out to be fake, or are products worth less than those advertised.

Where a credit card is involved, the perpetrators may also aim to use the customer's credit card information to obtain cash or to make purchases of their own.

A common example of this type of fraud is pornographic websites that advertise free access. Upon further inspection, however, a credit card is required "for age verification purposes only". The scammers then use your credit card information to make large charges to the credit card.

In cases involving fake or worthless goods, many are health products, related to health fraud. These products might advertise anything from a quick way to lose weight to a cure for a serious disease, and may:

  • Promise a lot, claiming they can "do it all"
  • Claim to be a "scientific breakthrough", featuring fake doctors or scientists making claims for the product, with technical jargon that only experts in the field know is used falsely
  • Feature a long list of "personal testimonials", with no way to check if they are true or fake.
Once your credit card information is given to these types of scam companies, they usually will charge you no matter what type of cancellation you attempt to go through. This can often be overcome by contacting the credit card company.

Credit and consumer protection laws in many countries hold the credit card company liable to refund their customers' money for goods or services purchased with the card but not delivered. The loss is then suffered by the card company, but ultimately passed on to customers in higher interest and fees.

6.15 Internet Ticket Fraud
A variation of internet marketing fraud is offering tickets to sought-after events such as concerts, shows and sports events. The tickets turn out to be fake, or they are simply never delivered. The proliferation of online ticket agencies and the existence of experienced and dishonest ticket touts have fuelled this kind of fraud in recent years.

Many such scams are run by British ticket touts, though they may base their operations in other countries.

The company Euroteam is a well-established ticket scam. Norwegian based they force customers to confirm that they are buying tickets for a company in order to dilute consumer protection laws. They promise to deliver tickets often confirming their delivery up until minutes before an event is due to start.

A prime example was the global Beijing Olympic Games ticket fraud run by US-registered Xclusive Leisure and Hospitality, sold through a professionally designed website, with the name "Beijing 2008 Ticketing".

On 4 August it was reported that more than $50 million worth of fake tickets had been sold through the website. On 6 August it was reported that the person behind the scam, which was wholly based outside China, was a British ticket tout, Terance Shepherd.

6.16 Internet Marketing SEO Fraud
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) fraud involves a supposed internet marketing specialist presenting a prospective client with detailed graphs and charts that indicate that his web site receives (x) thousands of hits per month.

The specialist emphasizes that payment for his services will increase web traffic, in return increase costumers. The marketer then proceeds to not provide the proposed services. Wikipedia


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