Monday, September 1, 2008

Fake Profiles Wrap-Up

Tags: fake profiles

Well, the time has come to wrap up my series on fake profiles. I could go on and on about the various ways shady individuals use fake profiles to exploit unsuspecting Web-goers, but I believe I've covered the big problem areas by tackling MySpace and other social networks, online dating websites, and Craigslist scams.

You may not think fake profiles on the Web are a big deal, but recent news shows otherwise with a Craiglist fake profiler being sued and the case where faking MySpace information may become a federal crime. As long as there's money in creating fake profiles online, there will be seedy people there to do it.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fake Profiles Part 3 - Craigslist Scams

Tags: craigslist, fake profiles

I've discussed fake profiles on social networking sites like MySpace and dating websites like Match.com - so it's about time I take on Craigslist.

Like MySpace and Match.com, Craigslist is targeted for fake profiles because it's a potential advertising resource. Many Craigslist users aren't necessarily net savvy, which makes them perfect victims for fake profile scams. With Craigslist, a scammer can easily create a fake profile, post a fake ad, and make a decent amount of cash in a very short amount of time with very little risk.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Craigslist Fake Profiler Gets Sued

Tags: craigslist, fake profiles, lawsuit

It was just last week that I discussed the infiltration of fake profiles on dating websites. Well, it looks like a new court case may be tackling that very same issue, though this time the problem isn't with an affiliate marketer using fake profiles for profit, but rather a Craigslist griefer looking to humiliate people with fake causal sex postings.

Jason Fortuny, the person resonsible for posting the fake profile, has the same attitude toward his online actions as many of the so-called internet marketers I've talked about previously. Perhaps the best example is this disturbing quote from Fortuny:

"If I made the mistake of telling secrets to someone I didn't know online and it got out...I'd be kicking myself pretty hard. I would most definitely be shouting expletives at my computer screen. But that's the risk we all take online, as well as in life. Whether it's someone's e-mail, picture, or personal ad, there's no guarantee of identity, and no guarantee that you won't be betrayed. And there never will be."


That right there frightens the hell out of me. He agrees that being tricked into exposing your information and being humiliated online would be terrible - basically admitting that he did exactly what he'd hate have happen to himself. His reasoning seems to be that since the internet is already a risky place for your information, he may as well contribute to the problem by scamming people and humiliating them. This makes absolutely no sense. Just because there's a bunch of people beating up on a kid in the corner doesn't mean you should join in.

Many of the online dangers out there are perpetuated by individuals with the exact same attitude - that others are doing it, so why can't I? It has taken the courts a while to catch up to the digital age - and while they still have some work to do - they are definitely making some progress. Sure, some things like the RIAA attacks are where the law has taken a few steps back, but hopefully there will soon be some accountability for these people who decide stepping on others is an acceptable means to an end.

Fortuny you decided to harm others for your own amusement. For that, I hope this court case finds in favor of the victim and if at all possible perhaps set a precedent for future scammers to be wary of.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fake Profiles Part 2 - Online Dating

Tags: fake profiles, online dating

In part 1 of my Fake Profiles series, I talked about how people use fake profiles on social networking sites like MySpace to create large friends lists that are nothing more than lead lists to push various marketing efforts. In part 2 I will be focusing on how (and why) people use fake profiles for online dating websites like Match.com and Yahoo Personals.

Like social networking sites, dating websites have become big lead sources for internet marketers (aka, spammers and scammers) to attack. With online dating websites they are able to focus directly on a particularly lucrative niche - singles looking for dates. Having such a valuable and focused niche has drawn all sorts of seedy Web individuals to exploit these types of websites and users by creating fake profiles in an attempt to lure unsuspecting singles seeking net-goers.
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Monday, July 7, 2008

Faking MySpace User Information Possible Federal Crime?

Tags: fake profiles, myspace

So last week I started part 1 of my fake profiles series, with the focus being on creating fake profiles for MySpace. Why bring it up again so soon you ask? Well, maybe because the federal courts are looking at how creating a fake profile should be considered a federal crime.

Actually, the extent to which they are going would likely criminalize most (if not all) violations of any website's terms of service. What this means is that any time you decide to fill out a form online, if you enter any false data or in any other way violate that website's terms of service, you could be sent to jail.

Well lying is bad right? And when you use a website you should follow that website's guidlines right? Perhaps. But you sure as hell shouldn't make it against the law to do otherwise.

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