Tuesday, 2 March 2010

It's Fraud Week. So get active and report scammers and spammers!

The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce launched the 2010: Online Offensive—Fighting Fraud Online! yesterday and have provided some great tools to keep an eye on online fraud.

The SCAMwatch Radar provides warnings and alerts on the latest scams. Telstra have also released information on Fraud Week, which runs from 1-7 March.

According to the ACMA (cited by Telstra):
[M]ore than one-third of Australians [encounter] a scam in a 12 month period
Online scams have become a fact of online life. Indeed, spam has been increasing on almost all social media sites. During Fraud Week, I have decided to install the ACMA's SpamMATTERS software and have reported a number of constant spammers who annoy me in a variety of ways.

One area which doesn't appear to be captured by the Spam Act 2003 is the annoying trend where spammers make fake blog comments. These are becoming increasingly difficult to identify and are bulk-posted on topic-specific blogs.

Most recently, I received a comment which read:
There are many Australians that use wireless broadband as an additional home broadband service, allowing them the convenience of being connected to both the home and office while out and about or when traveling. -- http://www.let.com.au

If you do a quick Google search of the above text, you will find that the same post has been made on numerous blogs which are related to telecommunications.

This is the first such blog comment spam I have received which links back to an Australian company (I do not know if the company is aware of the comment spam), but I have reported it to the ACMA using their complaints and enquiries form.

I will report back on any response on this matter, as I understand that the Spam Act 2003 does not cover blog comments directly. But in the meantime, Fraud Week is an appropriate time to be deliberately active in reporting scammers and spammers.

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