FTC Finally Cracking Down On Spoof Con Sites
from the it's-about-time dept
In the past few months, there seemed to be a new story every other day or so about a scam involving a “spoofed” website, made to look like a legitimate company, asking for credit card and/or banking info. The way the scam works is that the scammer would create the site, and (usually) try to obscure the real URL to make it look legitimate. Then, they’d spoof the email headers to send out spam appearing as if it came from the same company, telling people there was a billing problem, and to go to the site to solve the problem. A few people, not realizing it was a scam, would go to the site, enter their info, and be ripped off. Finally, it appears that the FTC is cracking down on such scams. Of course, it’s not clear they’re cracking down very hard. They caught one such scammer – a 17-year-old kid who spoofed AOL – and got him to agree to a $3,500 fine and a promise that he’ll never send out spam again. Not exactly going to scare too many people, is it? So, let me get this straight. If you happen to have a perfectly legal file sharing application on your desktop, and it leaves open access to copyrighted materials (even if no one downloads them), you can be thrown in jail as a felon. However, if you’ve consciously set up an elaborate scam to trick people into giving up their credit card and bank account info you get a slap on the wrist and are told not to do that again? That sounds fair.