Dealing Spammers/Scammers a deadly blow

I have a friend over at “Yomi Says”.  We have a few things in common that I am aware of. Some are: we both blog, we both run web hosting operations, we both hate spammers/scammers! He even has a category on his personal blog called “Hall of Shame”, where he exposes some of the scammers who have abused his web hosting service: domainstandard.net

Now, as interesting as providing web hosting services can be, spammers/scammers make the whole experience a nightmare, depending on how well they are handled and contained.

Scammers set-up fake websites with the intent to defraud unsuspecting web users and they might using spamming as one of the means of getting to their prospective victims. Spammers send out mass unsolicited email messages to email users, attempting to defraud one way or the other. These scammers are not the regular spammers trying to sell you viagra or other ridiculous things that you don’t need. They are out with one intent only: to defraud. They either to attempt to gain access to your bank login details using a fake website of a bank or to swindle you using fake stories of some dead African ruler who left behind millions of dollars.

I am not writing this piece to attack any particular country [and its citizens] but having run an international web hosting business for several years now, I know for sure the kind of scams that come from each country that has a high incidence of scam/fraud. The business of most scammers in Nigeria is to send their silly 419 emails to as many as possible or phishing emails to scam their fellow Nigerians who are Internet Banking or ATM card users.
Sending their scammy mails via Yahoo, Hotmail etc is no longer feasible since the leading web-based free email service providers have implemented very tight measures to cut-down the nefarious activities of these scammers.

Modus operandi of these scammers? Simple. They register a domain name and buy a web hosting account using fake names, fake contact details (if the spammer is a pro or a ‘smart one’) and then pay via fraudulent means if the web host accepts credit cards. Where the web host accepts payment only via e-gold and/or via the banks, they don’t mind parting with their money (probably earned from other scams) to pay for the hosting service.

The moment the hosting account is set-up and they received confirmation, they go ahead to set-up phony email accounts and spam away! They usually source their database of email addresses from unsecured websites, browser cache of Internet cafe computers and send the mails en mass sometimes via PHP scripts or web-based email software like SquirrelMail and Horde.

The web host ultimately suffers one way or another, each time the scammers are successful in sending their fraudulent messages. It is based on this that I believe there is a need for web hosts in Nigeria to unite on creating a common database of these scammers so each web host could reference the database before processing any order. This would go a long-way to make life much more difficult for the scammers.

Are you a web host in Nigeria? Are you an email user who has received such scam emails? You have corrections, suggestions? So long you are not a scammer/spammer, you are free to share your views on my blog about what you think of this issue. Post your comments now!

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Avatar of Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.

10 Comments

  1. Dave,

    I am seriously grieved over the activities of these morons. I like the idea of a common database, and you can count me in. How do we proceed?

    Cheers!

  2. That is a lovely piece.
    I almost became a victim of these ruthless spammers. I remember receiving a mail telling me she’s the soul survivor of a certain minister in Cote d’Ivoire and she has difficulty in claiming her entitlement.
    Obviously the spammers thought I stay in France and solicited for my support by given “her” my account details. I was lucky because I knew the country and after several interactions I discovered that she was a fake.
    Till today I still receive spam messages in my box. All I do is ignore them.
    There activities is even more frustrating to casual users like me.

  3. I support this effort wholeheartedly. Please let me know how I can help. I am absolutely frustrated by scam artists and equally frustrated by the people who fall prey for their shenanigans.

  4. count me in on this one.

    but note that all the mails dont come from webhosts in Nigeria/Africa. I think what we need is that internet access be domiciled in Nigeria. Presently, everybody gets his/her internet access from anywhere. People are free to subscribe to any service provider in/out of Nigeria by various technologies, most common the VSAT.

    If service provision is domiciled, regardless of where the webhost is, we can place restrictions(filter, IP location etc)on such practices.

    an example is: The Great Firewall of China.

  5. Interswitch Nigeria & member banks move against ATM fraudsters…

    Long after several people have been defrauded of their money through social engineering scams, Interswitch Nigeria the leading issuer of local ATM/Debit cards appears to be acting now. According to a recent report by Daily Trust:

    Interswitch Nigeria L…

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