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Crime Security The Internet

Fraud Fighter "Bobbear" To Close Up Shop 61

Posted by kdawson
from the one-of-the-good-guys dept.
Krebsonsecurity.com has a writeup on the decision of UK anti-fraud activist site bobbear.co.uk to retire from the fray. The 66-year-old fraud fighter said he was getting too old for the work, which takes him about 15 hours a day. "We had so many messages of thanks, and congratulations on the site, but it is so stressful and takes so much out of you, and there is always the worry of litigation hanging over your head." "The owner and curator of bobbear.co.uk, a site that specializes in exposing Internet fraud scams and phantom online companies, announced Saturday that he will be shuttering the site at the end of April. Bobbear and its companion site bobbear.com are creations of [the pseudonomous] Bob Harrison, a 66-year-old UK resident who for the last four years has tirelessly chronicled and exposed a myriad of fraud and scam Web sites. The sites, which are well-indexed by Google and other search engines and receive about 2,000 hits per day, often are among the first results returned in a search for the names of fly-by-night corporations advertised in spam and aimed at swindling the unsuspecting or duping the unwitting." Any ideas on who might want to take over the domains and carry on the work would be appreciated by the Internet community at large.
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Fraud Fighter "Bobbear" To Close Up Shop

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  • Go wiki (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:04PM (#31883934)

    Any ideas on who might want to take over the domains and carry on the work would be appreciated by the Internet community at large.

    Turn it into a moderated wiki. Allow interested parties to post, and a queue of submissions from forwarded emails to be reviewed. Like the slashdot of the spam underworld. :|

    • Re:Go wiki (Score:5, Funny)

      by dmomo (256005) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:13PM (#31883968) Homepage

      > Like the slashdot of the spam underworld.
      Wait. Don't you want to encourage people to actually review the proposed scam site before posting their opinions?

      --- I didn't rtfa

  • Consumers Union (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:11PM (#31883958)

    Any ideas on who might want to take over the domains and carry on the work would be appreciated by the Internet community at large.

    Sounds like something that the Consumers Union [consumersunion.org] might want to take a look at.
    They publish Consumer Reports and recently acquired The Consumerist website. [consumerist.com]

  • Not that I'm trying to run this guy down but 2000 hits a day is pretty small site. The /b/tards on 4chan have probably done more to combat online scams.

    • by Redlazer (786403)
      But it is still a respectable amount of traffic.
      • by Nasajin (967925)
        Given that,

        The fraud fighter said he plans to spend his upcoming free time finishing a house he started building in 1999, and spending more time with his wife and family, which includes two cats and three geese.

        he seems to be doing pretty well for a man that has been living in a half complete house for over a decade, especially considering he must spend a fair amount of time separating the constant warner-bros-esque geese/cat fights that must constantly break out.

  • I'll buy the domain and build up a business on it. I have a great way to get potential new employees too. I'll simply find 5 people and tell them about this awesome opportunity to do good for the general world. They can each pay me $50 to be part of this opportunity, but don't worry they can quickly recoup their costs. All they need to do is go out and find 10 more employees each and get them all to sign up for $50. They can keep 5% of whatever joining fee that gets paid. Then those people can each find an
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@b ... h u d s o n .com> on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:24PM (#31884036) Journal

    Any ideas on who might want to take over the domains

    "Hello, I represent Mr. Kopyambi, who died recently and left $28 million unclaimed. If you wish to claim a portion of this amount as a handling fee, just set the domain name administrator to Pytor Molotov, Russian Business Network, St. Petersburg"

  • by reverendbeer (1496637) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:25PM (#31884042)
    ...could take it over: www.scamwarners.com, www.scamorama.com, www.419eater.com, or www.aa419.org. They've already proven their worth on the anti-scam front and have people that can keep it current.
  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:28PM (#31884056)

    Any ideas on who might want to take over the domains and carry on the work would be appreciated

    If one man can be acknowledged by the cyber-community to make a difference, (and, in passing, hats off to him), imagine what Government could do with a well-financed team of, say, ten people?

    Cyber-crime costs a hugh, and increasing, amount of money, (see comments here on /. about the true cost of spam). Unfortunately, Governments do not seem to take it seriously enough. Maybe because it rarely hits to headlines, and so is perceived as less of an issue, (i.e. vote winner). Shame.

    • by Z34107 (925136) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:37PM (#31884098)

      If one man can be acknowledged by the cyber-community to make a difference, (and, in passing, hats off to him), imagine what Government could do with a well-financed team of, say, ten people?

      Hahahaha! Oh, man. You're killing me.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:53PM (#31884166) Journal
      I've noticed a lot of people don't seem to care about scammers because when they hear about it, it's presented in a way that makes the person being scammed look stupid. And a lot of times the person would have been able to avoid it if they hadn't been so greedy (especially common in 419 scams). So it's easy for people to think, "Oh, I will never fall for that trick."

      And when a problem doesn't affect a person, they are less likely to want the government to do something about it.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As many times its not that they are 'stupid'. It is that they are greedy. There are some out there that prey on people being nice. But I would be willing to bet 99% of the scams out there are people scamming on peoples greed. People seem to turn off their 'there is something wrong here' when large sums of money are involved and they could get some. People want to get rich quick with little effort.

        Now the ones who prey on someone who 'wants to help'. Well those are a different story. However I do need

      • it's presented in a way that makes the person being scammed look stupid.

        That's because they are.

    • by Bios_Hakr (68586)

      What I'd like to see is a PenTesting-style team of white hats. These guys could set up the scams and, when they get a bite, take funds for, say, 24 hours. Then, contact the user and let them know what happened, how they did it, and what the use can do to not get taken in the future.

      The system would be funded with a small percentage of the funds they take from people, say 1%. Basically, a fine; similar to a speeding ticket.

    • I think every country in the world has an agency that would be an appropriate choice to take over for Bobbear's role in catologing and publicizing scams. It's called "law enforcement." Bobbear has done an invaluable service cataloging and publicizing these scams. But these are crimes that take advantage of the interconnectedness of modern banks, and the only way to effectively fight them is through cooperation of banks and law enforcement agencies around the world. They should be baiting these guys -- not
    • by mpe (36238)
      If one man can be acknowledged by the cyber-community to make a difference, (and, in passing, hats off to him), imagine what Government could do with a well-financed team of, say, ten people?

      Which would cost considerably less than the amount governments are willing to spend on "anti-terrorist" for very questionable "results".

      Cyber-crime costs a hugh, and increasing, amount of money, (see comments here on /. about the true cost of spam). Unfortunately, Governments do not seem to take it seriously enough.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      imagine what Government could do with a well-financed team of, say, ten people?

      Ten government employees wouldn't even be enough to keep the coffeemaker going.

  • How about Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Herkum01 (592704) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:37PM (#31884100)

    Since these sites keep turning up high in the search results, it would be to their benefit if there was someone to help cleanup the mess.

  • by Itninja (937614) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @05:57PM (#31884174) Homepage
    ...that I never heard of.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @06:11PM (#31884222)
    If we had lawsuit protection and a loser pays rule it would be a lot harder to threaten these sites with frivolous lawsuits. Especially if a judge ruled that you had to put up a bond to pay in the event you lost before you were allowed to file. You can argue the other way that this denies the poor justice, but the current system is crap to innocent defendants.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Maybe a reasonable small step towards such a system would be to provide a public defender for anyone who wants one if they are sued, whom you only have to pay if you lose. The problem with loser pays without some fairness rules is that a big business could hire a large team of expensive barristers, safe in the knowledge that if they win, they won;t have to pay them, and any poor defendant won't risk a trial even if the actual damages sought are tiny, because they would get hammered by the lawyers fees. To m

  • I suppose it wouldn't make sense for Google to take some responsibility for essentially aiding and abetting this activity. Turning a blind eye to abuse would be akin to that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by troll8901 (1397145) *

      I'm pretty sure Google has an anti-fraud team behind the scenes.

      1. Search for, e.g., "Healthcare Payments Inc", and the first few search results link to anti-fraud pages (Bobbear). There's no link to the scam's website.

      2. Granted, it can do better with "Harper Logistic", but there's still no link to the scam's website.

      3. "This site may harm your computer."

      4. Red and grey page in Firefox, with a huge warning. (Thanks, Mozilla!)

      5. Others that we don't see.

      The efforts may mostly be done by other people (doma

  • That site sure as hell was designed by a 66 year old.

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