Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Nature of Fraud

Rip-Off Report has a piece on a Perry Belcher which provides insight on how fraud works. The clown sold ebooks (supposedly written by experts) and various medical supplements (supposedly manufactured under FDA guidelines) and a bunch of other garbage. Here are just a few of the domains created Mr. Belcher:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Apparently there are many others.

The problem with fraud isn't so much that a large number of people are fraudsters. The problem is that, once a person is willing to cross the line into the extra-legal, they can spew forth with a great deal of garbage. In the case of the internet, once a person knows basic HTML and learns that they can host multiple domain names off the same web account, then they can start spewing forth fraudulent sites for $7.95 per domain name.

BTW, there really isn't a good way to spot fraudulent sites by looking at them. One rule of thumb is to avoid doing business with any site that does not display contact information. Even though it means paying sales tax, it is always better to do business with someone within your state or town to some one far away as it is easier to take local firms to small claims court.

Finally don't be taken in by slickness of a site. The people in the fraud game design sites for effect. A fraudster might create a thousand sites from a thousand different templates. If one or two strike the public as authentic, they run with that. You can copy the HTML from any authentic looking site. Change things around a bit, and you have yourself an authentic looking site in an hour or two.

Looking at the great amount of questionable web sites on the net. I've come to the conclusion that a person should only buy physical goods from stores with a combination of a brick and mortar store and web site. Cyber goods are a little bit different. I wouldn't expect a bands, music download sites, or software firms to have physical store fronts. In such cases, I do research on Hoovers, Rip Off Report, the BBB and Chamber of Commerce before doing business.

Sadly, doing business in America has become a scary affair. There is a great deal of merit to shopping locally where you can do business face to face with a handshake. I really want to find a way to support small business on the internet, but it is hard to separate the legit companies from the things that the scammers belch up.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Another great tip is to do a back ground check/skip trace to see what assets your debtor may own before ever even going to small claims or of coarse after if you have all ready won a judgment. This way you can determine if there is even anything to even go after. If you find the debtor owns nothing, it may not be worth the time or money. You can check out for more info on how to do this as I found them to be very helpful.