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  • drdianehamilton 8:58 am on February 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Domain name, , , Twtter, Typosquatting, , ,   

    What is Typosquatting? When Misspelling is an Expensive Mistake 

    Typosquatting occurs when a website is created to prey on people who may have inadvertently typed in the wrong web address.  An example would be arifrance instead of airfrance.  Typosquatting is also referred to as URL hijacking, cybersquatting or brandjacking.

    The registration of misspelled domain names is illegal. Sites like Wikapedia and Twtter have been shut down and fined $156,000 each.  Mashable reported that sites like these “are popping up on the web to trick unsuspecting web users into clicking on fake ads that claim the user has won a prize. In the case of these two sites, to receive a prize, like an iPad, people were asked for their cellphone number. The site sent a text with a pin and more texts with survey questions. Each time a person responded to the survey questions via texts he or she was charged.”

    Alexa reported that some of the web’s most popular sites were typosquatted. Scambusters.org lists some helpful tips to identify typosquatting.  Some of the main uses for these sites include:

    • Revenue Generating
    • Transfer of Virus and/or Malware
    • Phishing Scams
    • Advertising Pay Per Click Scam

    USA Today reported that, “most typosquatting domains lead to a bot network, used to steal passwords and obtain personal information such as financial or banking records. Bot networks aren’t obvious and can involve millions of computers.”  According to TGdaily.com, it is a good idea to get into the habit of bookmarking your favorite sites to be sure that you are landing on the correct page. Sixty Four percent of the typosquatted sites are US-based.  Bendelman.org compiled a list of popular domains and their typosquatted sites to compare number of daily visitors.  Click here for that report.

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  • drdianehamilton 12:09 pm on August 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Advance-fee fraud, , , , , , Limewire, Theft, Wells Fargo   

    Young Adults and Unique Identity Theft Issues 

    As more people have embraced technology, more opportunities for identity theft have been created.  PC Magazine author Larry Seltzer interviewed a cyber-crimes expert and found that there are some unique new ways that people have their identities stolen.  One of the things that may come as a surprise is that misconfigured peer-to-peer apps like Limewire can share information from your “My Documents” folder. 

    While you may be hip to the Nigerian scams, you may not be aware of skimmers on ATMs that can read your credit cards. Seltzer explains, “These are devices which install over the reader appear to be part of the machine. When you insert your card the skimmer reads it and records the information on it. They are often used in combination with surreptitious cameras to record the keys you press for the PIN. Skimmers are especially popular on gas pump, but they are also being used on the smaller point of sale readers found in stores.”

    CNN Money reported that the top consumer complaint is identity fraud.  “The Federal Trade Commission counted 250,854 complaints about identity theft in 2010, according to a report issued Tuesday. That was 19% of the 1.3 million total complaints the agency received, putting it at the top of the consumer complaint list for the 11th year in a row. The most common form of identity theft was through fraudulent government documents. Credit card fraud garnered the second highest number of identity theft complaints, followed by phone and utilities fraud.”

    Many young adults are going back to school soon.  College students may feel they are invincible and not notice identity theft as quickly as they should.  They are less likely to track their bank accounts and credit card statements.  Mainstreet.com reported, “Studies have shown that it takes 18- to 24-year-old Americans twice as long to find out they’ve been the victim of I.D. fraud – which is usually too late to do anything about it.”

    Wells Fargo has come up with tips for college students to safeguard their financial information.

    Fraudpreventionunit.org also has listed 10 Tips for an Identity-Theft Free 2011.

  • drdianehamilton 4:10 pm on August 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Attorney General's Office, , Confidence trick, , , , , , ,   

    College Students Beware of Financial Aid Scams 

    In the recent article 15 Common Financial Aid Scams to Watch Out For, the author points out that college students may be a vulnerable demographic.  So-called financial aid experts may be out to take advantage of those looking for legitimate ways to finance their education.  Watch out for some of the following wording:  Unclaimed Money, Buy Now, Application Fees, Free Seminar, and Guaranteed.  For the complete list of scams with explanations, click here

    Finaid.org claims, “Every year, several hundred thousand students and parents are defrauded by scholarship scams. The victims of these scams lose more than $100 million annually.”  There is some protection against fraud.  The Scholarship Fraud Protection Act of 2000 has increased the penalties for this fraud, including a maximum fine of $500,000 and jail time. 

    If you feel you have been scammed, you have recourse.  According to the Finaid.org site, “The following organizations can help you determine whether an offer is legitimate. They will tell you whether they have received any complaints about the company, or whether it’s currently under investigation. They can also provide you with additional information or assistance.

    National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
    In addition to providing helpful information, the NFIC will pass your complaints along to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your state’s Attorney General’s Office. The NFIC also maintains a toll-free hotline at 1-800-876-7060.”

  • drdianehamilton 6:10 pm on August 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bait-and-switch, , Computers and Internet, , Domain Names, , , Loss leader,   

    Loss Leaders and the Old Bait and Switch 

    Go Daddy is in the news right now due to their consideration of global expansion. One of the ways they have become so successful is that they utilized a marketing technique where they offered a “loss leader”.  For those who have not taken a business course, this term may not be familiar.  The Business Dictionary defines a loss leader as a, “Good or service advertised and sold at below cost price. Its purpose is to bring in (lead) customers in the retail store (usually a supermarket) on the assumption that, once inside the store, the customers will be stimulated to buy full priced items as well.”

    In Go Daddy’s case, they charged customers only around $10 to register domains while their competition charged closer to $35.  The Arizona Republic reported, “Then, they were able to capitalize on that by figuring out that domain names are a loss leader or a low margin item, and the way you really make money in the business is not with the domain names, but it’s with everything else that people buy with them.”

    How does a loss leader differ from what people refer to as the “old bait and switch”?  First of all, the old bait and switch is considered fraud.  “Customers are “baited” by advertising for a product or service at a low price; then customers discover that the advertised good is not available and are “switched” to a costlier product.”  This is considered false advertising.

    The use of loss leaders is a smart marketing move because it gives customers what they want at a lower price and allows companies to make more money on any additional items purchased.  The old bait and switch is illegal and causes a loss of business in the end through word of mouth about shady practices.    

  • drdianehamilton 4:32 pm on February 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Malware, , , , , , , , Spam,   

    Social Networking Could Leave You Open to Attack: How to Protect Yourself 

    As the popularity of networking sites grows, so does the opportunity for social networkers to experience problems.  There are some safeguards people can put into place to protect themselves. 

    By now, obvious things like not mentioning you are going out of town, posting how much you make, or listing overly private information, have hopefully sunk in, teaching people to post more safely.  However, there are a lot of other less obvious mistakes that many social networkers make.  Before you post that picture on your Facebook that people can download and save for later, you might want to think about where it will end up in the long run. 

    An article from Creston News Advisor has some safety recommendations including avoiding accepting pop-ups, not providing confidential personal data, restricting what you do on Wi-Fi, not auto-saving passwords, and checking out the privacy information on each social networking site.  For their complete list of safety tips, click here.

  • drdianehamilton 6:19 pm on October 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Big-box store, , Environmentally friendly, , Green Living, Greenwashing, Product (chemistry),   

    Are Products Really as Green as They Claim? 95% of Them Apparently are Not 

    via sinsofgreenwashing.org

    A survey from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that was just released claims that 95% of those products that label themselves as green are misleading us.  Many are making claims without the proof to back them up. 

    What is greenwashing?  If you combine whitewashing and green, it implies deception in the use of stating  a product is “green” when it may actually not be. This is a big topic that my students and I discuss in my marketing and ethics courses.

    To see the study, Greenwashing Report 2010, click here.

    In the report, they state the following:

    • Since 2009 the number of green products has gone up by 73%
    • They list 7 sins of greenwashing including:  showing no proof and being vague
    • Big box stores are the best providers of greener products
    • They examined over 5200 products
    • Greenwashing, although a problem, is actually declining

    Some Notable Findings from the 2010 Report…

  • drdianehamilton 2:34 pm on October 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Google Alerts, , Omniture, Radian6, , , Trackur, , Viralheat, Visible Technologies, Webtrends, Yext Rep   

    Are You Monitoring Your Online Reputation? 


    Individuals and companies need to keep track of their online reputation. Do you know who is writing about you or your business? In my book, How to Reinvent Your Career, I mention the importance of having a clean reputation online in case employers do some research into your background. That is important for employees, but organizations must be sure their reputations are intact as well.

    One bad comment out there can cause a lot of damage. It is not just negative comments that can hurt you. I have heard stories about companies who have had their information translated incorrectly in other countries which has led to their business looking badly. Don’t assume that something posted in another country can’t be translated back into English and hurt you here.

    There are sites like PissedConsumer.com or Scam.com or other sites where your reputation can be ruined.

    Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and others are very important to help spread your positive message. But be careful, because they can just as easily spread a negative one.

    I like to use Google Alerts to set up searches to track who is posting things about me or my company. I think it can be very helpful and it is free. If your company is large though, it can be harder to track all of the keywords.

    Another free option is Yext Rep. This site tracks mentions and reviews on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Superpages and Foursquare.

    If you are willing to pay a fee, Viralheat can monitor online conversations for a cost as little as $10/month.

    Trackur is another option that many use. They offer powerful tools, you can be up, and running in 60 seconds with their service, monitoring keywords, tracking trends on the web, and discovering how influential your site really is. They have something called sentiment tracking that, “you can tag discovered items with a positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. Keep track of who’s saying positive things about you and who’s attacking your reputation.” The price for this starts as low as $18/month for their basic plan.

    Visible Technologies is a good option if you need monitoring in different languages. They support 12 languages and allow employees to share reports. This comes at a cost of $500/month and up.

    Radian6 allows you to manage your social media campaigns. It can be integrated with Salesforce.com, Webtrends and Omniture for $600/month and up.

    • Greg 4:28 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great post! I love Trackur… I use it almost every single day. I also like the service whostalkin

    • Paul Yokota 4:33 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Some marketers suggest creating a page on your site like yoursite.com/scam that explains why you are not a scam, so that you show up in search results when users are exploring your reputation. Also, be wary of any company that charges you to post positive comments on your behalf, new FCC regulations mean that fake comments and reviews could run you afoul of the law.

      • drdianehamilton 4:36 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Paul,

        That can be a good idea. Do you think that sometimes people just look up your name or company and the word scam to see what is out there and then see the two words associated and assume there is something bad about you or your company? I have heard people tell me this. I see some of the searches that come to my site searching for names of companies or people I have written about and they use their names and the word scam to see what is written about them. My only concern is that they see there is an article that links a company or name to the word scam and then they are frightened away before even reading it.

    • Genevieve Coates 4:35 pm on October 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Diane,
      You bring up a very valid point that it’s important to be aware of what is being said about you in the online space. If you are pro-actively monitoring your brand/company it makes it much easier to start your crisis management at the first sign of a negative or potentially damaging comment. Transparency in the online and social media space goes a long way towards building your reputation and I think people appreciate the follow ups that are possible to negative issues when you have built monitoring in to your brand reputation goals.

      Thanks for including us in your post!
      Genevieve Coates
      Community Analyst – Radian6

  • drdianehamilton 3:27 pm on August 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Adolf Hitler, Andy Kaufman, Bill Cosby Alive, Bill Cosby Dead, Dead or Alive, Elvis Presley, , Is Ken Lay Alive, Jim Morrison, Ken Lay, Michael Jackson, Premature Obituaries, Tupac   

    Rumors of Famous People Being Alive or Dead: Is Ken Lay Still Alive? 

    I teach a lot of ethics courses where we talk about Enron and Ken Lay.  A student recently posted a link in class which I found to be interesting.  If you click on that link, there is a whole website dedicated to those who claim Ken Lay is actually alive. 

    There are always rumors about people who have died still being alive.  Here is a list of some of those people:


    Andy Kaufman

    Elvis Presley

    Jim Morrison

    Adolf Hitler

    Michael Jackson

    Last week there was a rumor going around that Bill Cosby died.  He is actually very much alive and well.  For a list of premature obituaries, click here.

    • maximuminheritance 9:26 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      It strikes me as a conincidence – stependously wealthy man; interminable prison sentence; sudden death. Look at all the prison food he missed. While I never beleived Hitler in his poor state of health could have survived for long, even if he hadn’t killed himself at the close of WWII, just think of all those nazis who made it to South America. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but…

  • drdianehamilton 4:43 pm on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Computer Virus, , Trojan, Zeus Trojan   

    New ‘Sophisticated’ Trojan, Which Is Undetectable, Has Emptied Bank Accounts Worldwide 

    Hold onto your hats. A new version of the Zeus trojan, called Zeus3, has wreaked havoc on thousands of bank accounts worldwide, stealing just over $1 million. The best part? There’s pretty much no way to detect the trojan if it’s on your system. Hooray for humanity, right?

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • drdianehamilton 3:11 pm on July 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: business scams, , home based businesses, internet fraud, scambusters, ,   

    Home Based Business Scams from Scambusters.org 

    Top 10 Work At Home and Home Based Business Scams and How to Avoid Them – Part 1

    Home-based business and work-at-home opportunity scams rank very high on the list of the top types of Internet fraud.

    In this issue, we’ll focus on the Top 10 home-based business/work-at-home scams. We’ll give you the straight goods on envelope stuffing, mystery shopping, and other common home-based business “opportunities” you may have seen floating around the Net.

    Then in the next issue, we’ll give you some important tips you can use to kick the tires of any online job offers or business opportunities you find so you can protect yourself from those that are scams.

    Work-At-Home and Home-Based Business Scams

    There are two basic types of scams involved here. Scammers using both types are aiming at folks who want to make money from home, either by:

    1. Having you work from home, doing envelope stuffing, craft assembly, or other tasks where you are (supposedly) paid by a company as an employee.

    There are certainly some legitimate telecommuting jobs, but work-from-home jobs are often just big scams.

    Before we go any further, a sobering quote: “There are very few legitimate [work-at-home job] opportunities available,” says Beverley Williams, President and Founder of the American Association of Home-Based Businesses.

    2. “Helping” you start your own home-based business, as a mystery shopper, network marketer, or other businesses where the only money anyone sees is the money the scammer pockets.

    Certainly, there are LOTS of legitimate businesses that can help you start your own home business. We’ll help you figure out which are real — and which are just scams.

    Our goal with Internet ScamBusters is to save you time, money and heartbreak before you fall for the scams. Remember — if it sounds too good to be true… *it probably is*.

    Why Are These Scams So Successful?

    It all comes down to psychology. Besides the “make money fast” dream that many Internet newcomers fall prey to, home-based “opportunities” scammers mooch off the following groups. Perhaps you belong to one or more of them:

    1. The Sick, Disabled, or Elderly: If you are elderly, ill, or have a disability, you may have problems landing a traditional job.

    2. The Stay-At-Home Mother: Whether you have a spouse or you’re single, you may be looking to supplement or create an income while raising children.

    3. The Low-Income or No-Income Family: You or your spouse may have just lost your job, and you feel desperate and anxious to find work as the bills pile up.

    4. The Person Without Higher Education: You’re not stupid or dumb — you just didn’t go on to college or university.

    To summarize, these scammers are often preying primarily on the sick, the disabled, the elderly, the unemployed, parents, and people without a lot of money.

    The Top 10 Home-Based Business/Work-At-Home Scams

    Note: These scams are not ranked by dollars lost or people scammed. In fact, there’s nothing scientific about the list. It’s just the ten home-based business scams we find the most disturbing.

    10. Craft Assembly

    This scam encourages you to assemble toys, dolls, or other craft projects at home with the promise of high per-piece rates. All you have to do is pay a fee up-front for the starter kit… which includes instructions and parts.

    Sounds good? Well, once you finish assembling your first batch of crafts, you’ll be told by the company that they “don’t meet our specifications.”

    In fact, even if you were a robot and did it perfectly, it would be impossible for you to meet their specifications. The scammer company is making money selling the starter kits — not selling the assembled product. So, you’re left with a set of assembled crafts… and no one to sell them to.

    9. Medical Billing

    In this scam, you pay $300-$900 for everything (supposedly) you need to start your own medical billing service at home. You’re promised state-of-the-art medical billing software, as well as a list of potential clients in your area.

    What you’re not told is that most medical clinics process their own bills, or outsource the processing to firms, not individuals. Your software may not meet their specifications, and often the lists of “potential clients” are outdated or just plain wrong.

    As usual, trying to get a refund from the medical billing company is like trying to get blood from a stone.

    8. Email Processing

    This is a twist on the classic “envelope stuffing scam” (see #1 below). For a low price ($50?) you can become a “highly-paid” email processor working “from the comfort of your own home.”

    Now… what do you suppose an email processor does? If you have visions of forwarding or editing emails, forget it. What you get for your money are instructions on spamming the same ad you responded to in newsgroups and Web forums!

    Think about it — they offer to pay you $25 per email processed — would any legitimate company pay that?

    7. “A List of Companies Looking for Homeworkers!”

    In this one, you pay a small fee for a list of companies looking for homeworkers just like you.

    The only problem is that the list is usually a generic list of companies, companies that don’t take homeworkers, or companies that may have accepted homeworkers long, long ago. Don’t expect to get your money back with this one.

    6. “Just Call This 1-900 Number For More Information…”

    No need to spend too much time (or money) on this one. 1-900 numbers cost money to call, and that’s how the scammers make their profit.

    Save your money — don’t call a 1-900 number for more information about a supposed work-at-home job.

    5. Typing At Home

    If you use the Internet a lot, then odds are that you’re probably a good typist. How better to capitalize on it than making money by typing at home?

    Here’s how it works: After sending the fee to the scammer for “more information,” you receive a disk and printed information that tells you to place home typist ads and sell copies of the disk to the suckers who reply to you. Like #8, this scam tries to turn you into a scammer!

    4. “Turn Your Computer Into a Money-Making Machine!”

    Well, this one’s at least half-true. To be completely true, it should read: “Turn your computer into a money-making machine… for spammers!”

    This is much the same spam as #5, above. Once you pay your money, you’ll be sent instructions on how to place ads and pull in suckers to “turn their computers into money-making machines.”

    3. Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

    If you’ve heard of network marketing (like Amway), then you know that there are legitimate MLM businesses based on agents selling products or services.

    One big problem with MLMs, though, is when the pyramid and the ladder-climbing become more important than selling the actual product or service.

    If the MLM business opportunity is all about finding new recruits rather than selling products or services, beware: The Federal Trade Commission may consider it to be a pyramid scheme… and not only can you lose all your money, but you can be charged with fraud, too!

    We saw an interesting MLM scam recently: one MLM company advertised the product they were selling as FREE. The fine print, however, states that it is “free in the sense that you could be earning commissions and bonuses in excess of the cost of your monthly purchase of” the product. Does that sound like free to you?

    2. Chain Letters/Emails (“Make Money Fast”)

    If you’ve been on the Internet for any length of time, you’ve probably received or at least seen these chain emails. They promise that all you have to do is send the email along plus some money by mail to the top names on the list, then add your name to the bottom… and one day you’ll be a millionaire.

    Actually, the only thing you might be one day is prosecuted for fraud. This is a classic pyramid scheme, and most times the names in the chain emails are manipulated to make sure only the people at the top of the list (the true scammers) make any money.

    This scam should be called “Lose Money Fast” — and it’s illegal.

    1. Envelope Stuffing

    This is THE classic work-at-home scam. It’s been around since the U.S. Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, and it’s moved onto the Internet like a cockroach you just can’t eliminate.

    There are several variations, but here’s a sample: Much like #5 and #4 above, you are promised to be paid $1-2 for every envelope you stuff. All you have to do is send money and you’re guaranteed “up to 1,000 envelopes a week that you can stuff… with postage and address already affixed!”

    When you send your money, you get a short manual with flyer templates you’re supposed to put up around town, advertising yet another harebrained work-from-home scheme.

    And the pre-addressed, pre-paid envelopes? Well, when people see those flyers, all they have to do is send you $2.00 in a pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope. Then you stuff that envelope with another flyer and send it to them.

    Ingenious perhaps… but certainly illegal and unethical.

    To see other articles about scams, check out the right side of this blog page for past blogs listed under “scams”.

    • Washington DC Internet Marketing Company 12:12 pm on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great article, I hate it when people are scammed into paying their hard earned money for some fake work at home crap. These scams are what give the Internet a bad name because many people associate these scams with the Internet and think that everything on the Internet is fake and that you can’t make any money online which isn’t true. You have to do your research and if possible find a mentor or someone who is doing what you want to do and is earning money (they walk the talk).

      For Most people the following things are true:
      1. No you can’t make a million dollars working part time – don’t believe that crap everybody that has made millions has had to work their butt off..
      2. Yes you do have to spend “some money” to get your online business up and running
      3. You should never pay for the opportunity to make money, in Affiliate Marketing this is a lucrative business and you do not have to pay someone up front to sell their product. If they are asking for money up front it’s probably a scam
      4. Google the potential work at home offer you have, check around, ask other people, check the better business bureau to find out if the company is legit or not. If your skeptical or it sounds too good to be true it probably is

      Great article I hope more people read this and avoid getting scammed!

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