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#5.12: The “Don’t Get Screwed” Issue

There are plenty of quick talking cons on the net that are ready to bilk you out of your hard earned dough. Staying ahead of the scammers can be a full-time job.

1> Domain Registration Thieves
2> Phishing Fraudsters
3> Affiliate Abusers
4> Check It Out: One Stop Fraud Shop

1> Domain Registration Thieves

Everyone knows how important it is to keep control of your domain names. One common scam tries to trick webmasters into “renewing” nonexistent contracts for your URL. Swindlers will mail or fax what looks like, at first glance, a renewal contract or invoice for your domain. These are usually scams. Be careful — you might own but the contract is for Or, you’ll find that you’ve agreed to move your domain to a new registrar who holds you hostage for outrageous fees.

THE LESSON: Make sure everyone in your company knows to never sign an official-looking domain-name document.

2> Phishing Fraudsters

We’ve all seen a “Phishing” email — messages that pretends to be from your bank or credit card company, trying to steal your account numbers. These web-savvy scammers set up cloned web sites that look exactly like the official corporate site, and then they send out an official looking email asking you to reactivate your account. These emails often offer new and improved services that require the resubmission of your customer information. Once you submit your info, you are on the fast track to identity theft. Phishing is rapidly becoming the #1 form of online fraud, with over 1200 major attacks reported each month.

THE LESSON: Legitimate companies never send ou an email asking you to resubmit your account information.

MORE INFO: Report scams and see examples here.

3> Affiliate Abusers

Affiliate programs are equally susceptible to cheats. Sleazy abusers sign up for your affiliate program, specifically choosing offers where you pay per click. Then they use automated software to generate massive numbers of clicks — taking your commission for visitors that never existed. The only sure way to know when you have been had is to keep a close look at your web analytics. The click patterns should be relatively uniform day to day. If you see a sharp spike in traffic you have most likely become a victim. It’s equally important to know your affiliates personally, control who can enroll in your program. Even better, sign up with one of the major affiliate networks, such as Commission Junction or LinkShare, who provide advanced fraud-protection services.

THE LESSON: Your affiliate program can bring in valuable business, but it can also attract cons. Be vigilant.

4> Check It Out: One Stop Fraud Shop

Bunk, debunk and then bunk again all the facts and fiction surrounding online shenanigans.


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