I am an anti-fraud volunteer, call me a “scam fighter” or a “scambaiter” if you will. Whatever you call me the work I do is the same. There are many of us in this community, all working together towards the same goal. We have different backgrounds and experience, but there are a few things we are all trying to accomplish:
1. Doing our small part to help stop fraud on the internet
2. Helping raise awareness of different internet scams
3. Offering support to internet scam victims
Many anti-fraud volunteers have different areas of specialty. Some “scambait” them to waste their time. Mine has become fake and fraudulent websites. Though my education or real life work experience has nothing to do with the internet or with fraud, I work on these fake websites any chance I can. The question that may be asked (which the scammers themselves will never be able to understand) is: why? I don’t get paid for this. I rarely even get a ‘thank you’ or learn how many victims have been protected by reporting and shutting down a fraudulent website. So what am I spending all of this time doing this for? My answer comes in the form of my conservative estimates to follow.
Without getting into details, the all-too-common fake courier/security/shipping/escrow websites almost all have potential victims on the hook for their scams. Some of these sites, either because of their recent creation or lousy scammer operation, only have one or two potential scam victims they are actively trying to scam. The worst of these can have hundreds. Therefore, very conservatively, let’s say for every fake courier/escrow website there are 5 potential victims.
There are at least 400 of these type of fake websites currently documented and active at the time of this writing.
This does not factor in hundreds of known fraudulent bank websites, fake law firm sites, employment scam sites, etc…
Dozens of these new sites are created each day. Some are taken care of right away, some not. My (again very conservative) estimate is that there are at least 3 times the amount of fake sites out there that have not been found yet – either because they employ a foreign language or a different template we haven’t picked up on yet.
Add to this the fact that only a small percentage of the internet fraudsters even use fake websites in their scams.
I don’t know that anyone is positioned to put a final number on it (I know I’m not), but the amount of people being defrauded by internet scams worldwide is staggering. At the very least it’s in the 10’s of thousands.
So that’s why I do it, and there’s a lot more to do. If at least a handful of potential victims avoid being scammed because I reported a fake site, then it was well worth my time. To learn more about how you can help, please visit Scamwarners.com and/or 419Eater.com .
I better get back to work and report a few more of those fraudulent websites now.