Some days I’m simply flabbergasted at how many spineless, conniving thieves there are roaming the Internet. These people are a real pain and I have no doubt that most companies with any type of web presence agree with me, although some obviously profit from fighting these villains (you could even make a case for my company being one of them—the anti-villain that is). A couple of months ago I came across a blog post from one of the venture capitalists that I follow outlining what he calls the Internet Axis of Evil. He puts the following into this category:
• Click Fraud
• DNS Hacking
• Comment Spam
• Link Spam
At Webmail, we deal with at least half of these on a daily basis—some, like anti-virus and anti-spam, our customers pay us for. Others, like Click Fraud, we simply have to suck it up and hope that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft do their part in combating these losers (and just so you know, when I search for something online, I never click on a sponsored ad—even if its for one of my most fierce competitors. I’m such a nice guy, I know).
The Internet Axis of Evil is surely that—evil. But I’ve got one more that we need to add to that list. Signup Fraud. Signup Fraud is when one of these evil-doers makes a fraudulent online purchase, usually with a stolen credit card that they scammed off someone else, probably using one of the evil techniques mention above, like a phishing scam (a phish is an email you receive that looks like its coming from some sort of financial institution like your bank or Paypal—the email looks real, tells you to update your credit card informationand if you do… bam, they got you. Please don’t ever update your credit card information from a link in an email).
Just about anyone that sells something online has to deal with this stuff… but we’re an email hosting company—why would anyone want to make a fraudulent purchase of a virtual product? Well luckily it didn’t take us that long to figure this one out. They want to use our email hosting platform to spam and phish people! Go figure!