Personal Finance 

Fight Back Against ID Theft Phishers

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Most people are aware of the various phishing scams out there like President [insert any non-Anglo sounding name] of [insert a country in political distress in a remote area of the world] wanting to wire out $500M to you or how PayPal wants to know your social security number, password, and mother’s maiden name. Every so often, people still fall for them. Well, are you interested in fighting back?

I was reading an MSNBC investigative article that uncovered the fraudulent Pearl Atlantic Credit & Trust today when it introduced me to this great site, Artists Against 419. The 419 refers to the “advance fee scam” where you need to send someone money in order to get money for yourself (sending information and money to register to receive a contest you’ve won, etc).

So AA419 investigates these scam sites and will report them to the authorities and to their hosts. They will try all normal means by which to shut the scammer down. Sometimes the hosts listen, sometimes they don’t. Often times, the scammer is using a fake identity and so legal recourse isn’t possible. At any rate, the AA419 resorts to what they call a “flashmob,” which is simply using up the scammer’s bandwidth so the site has to shut down! Totally legit because they’re not DoS’ing the server, just eating up its bandwith quota! Here is the official definition to a flashmob:

What is a flashmob?
Sometimes a Web host will ignore the evidence that a site is fake and refuse to act against it, although the existence of such a site is very often in clear violation of the host’s own Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy. These sites become the focus of our regular flashmobs: with an intense letter-writing campaign and bandwidth usage, we seek to remind the host that these sites are fraudulent and are created and operated by criminal gangs solely for the purpose of deception.

I think this site is great, it’s fighting ID theft head on and with little risk (or even work) to you. Street justice at its very best, I love it…

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