Affiliate Marketers Against Online Criminal Predators – AMACOP

Can you imagine this? You open your email and you’re getting ready to see if you made any sales, got any new signups, or just good news in general. Something catches your eye and as an affiliate marketer you take a second look. behold! He’s an online thief with an email address pretending to be honest.

If you’re like me, you’re completely fed up with all the cybercriminals trying to get into your pocket, taking advantage of what they assume is your silly greed, or just trying to destroy the reputation of genuine people trying to make money. online. Do you really need another email telling you that you’ve won the British lottery, Microsoft lottery, eBay lottery, or some other silly trick?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough. So now, I am seriously looking for something I can do to put these criminals out of their misery.. MSNBC did a great documentary about 3 months ago about online credit card scams. It was a very revealing piece that traced the origin of cybercriminals who used unsuspecting people in the central United States to pawn their products purchased with stolen credit cards. The conclusion was not surprising, but very interesting to watch.

Let me give you a brief synopsis of how these schemes work. Someone steals a credit card and related personal information from an unsuspecting or careless credit card owner. He goes to an underground online forum, a den of thieves of sorts, and sells the card to someone else. This person will purchase the card for $15.00 or more. Then he goes shopping with the card and in about 10 minutes the card runs out.

Now, he doesn’t buy foolishly. Shop for consumer electronics, clothing, shoes, etc. His real intention is to send them to some faraway countries, like Benin in West Africa, or Nigeria, or some other country. However, before buying anything with that credit card, he must take one crucial step. He has to make sure he finds a scapegoat. Who is Patsy? This is the scapegoat that is going to ship the goods from the US or Canada for this criminal.

You see, most online stores will NOT ship to these countries directly. Therefore, the offender has to find someone to do it on her behalf.. Alarmingly, he will find someone. A few carefully crafted emails to someone desperately looking for “love,” seeking companionship, or seeking attention will usually ensnare a willing participant. This scapegoat sincerely believes that his beautiful and sexy girlfriend, who is somewhere in Europe or Asia Pacific region, will come to marry him, live with him or just show him a good time. She just needs a few favors first. Would she send her some items to Africa? If the scapegoat is enamored enough, he might even pay the cost of shipping, just in case.

Of course, if the scapegoat is a woman, a fitting image of a handsome man who is a successful businessman with shops all over the world who is dying to marry her and get her away from all of this will do the trick! A few well placed emails or even a phone call can do the trick.

So now, the thief has a scapegoat willing to ship his goods, purchased with a stolen credit card, anywhere in the world.. This is happening online right now folks! If you have any doubts from me, go on Craig’s list and try to sell any kind of electronic or consumer product and see what happens. These crooks are likely to at least write to you, pretending to be interested in the item, but wanting you to send it to them, and will also want to know if you’ll accept a cashier’s check. You just won’t be told it’s the counterfeit type.

Do not do it! They will try to persuade you even when it is clearly stated that once you pay for the goods with a credit card, the item will be shipped to you.. Here are some things you can do right now to protect yourself online and save yourself from pain and heartbreak. Particularly affected by these criminal activities are people who do affiliate marketing or other online businesses. You can protect yourself and drive these criminals off your network by learning how to stay ahead of them. These people give affiliate marketing a bad name and there is definitely something you can do to help. Here are some suggestions:

1. Do not click on any link in any email that says it is from PayPal, especially if you have a PayPal account. Never do it. Just delete it. If you need to go to your PayPal account, type the PayPal address into your browser.

2. Do not click on any links in any email that is supposed to come from eBay and asks you to click on any link to verify your silver member status. Do not do it. This works just like the PayPal scam. Someone is trying to steal your account passwords using keyloggers or worms.

3. Delete any generic email from anyone claiming to have won a lottery. If the email is not addressed to you by name, delete it. If you did not buy lottery online, delete it. No one, I repeat NO ONE is going to send you $55 million out of nowhere!

4. Never agree to ship anything to anyone anywhere after you have purchased the item from a website. In other words, don’t allow yourself to become a shuttle to someone you don’t really know. If a website doesn’t ship to a particular country, it’s usually for a good reason. Don’t play hero online.

5. No matter where you live, do not carelessly dispose of any material written with your social security, local equivalent identification, or credit card information. Someone could find you and steal your identity.

I have a friend who is in the court system right now fighting for his freedom because a criminal sent him a fake money order for legitimate goods he was about to send. Now, in addition to having to explain to the authorities how you ended up with a fake bank draft/money order, you have this criminal calling your cell phone to get your money back (in real dollars, of course) for not receiving the goods that needed. He’s supposed to be buying with a fake money order! The gall of these criminals!

If you do affiliate marketing or some other legitimate business online, is there anything you can do about it? I think we all can. It may take another article to properly explore this topic, but I am willing to do my best to put an end to this type of criminal activity online. It’s you?

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