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Crime The Internet

Shakedowns To Fix Negative Online Reviews 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
First time accepted submitter unjedai writes "A company is putting horrible reviews of small business online, and then offering to improve the company's reputation and take the reviews off for a fraction of the cost that a real reputation improvement company would charge. Sierra West received a call from a 'reputation improvement company' telling them they had a negative review online and that the company would take the review offline if Sierra West paid $500. 'Of course when someone is offering $500 the day (the bad review) goes up seemed not legitimate.'"
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Shakedowns To Fix Negative Online Reviews

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  • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:58AM (#41546891)

    When it comes to payment, a sure sign that it is a scam is when the business demands that you pay by wiring the money. If you wire money, it is not traceable or refundable, and it vanishes into the anonymous thief's pocket. So, always use credit cards or Pay-Pal, or something that offers protection. Only wire money if you absolutely, positively know the person to whom you are sending it.

    Huh? Is that really how wire transfers are perceived in the United States?

    In most of the civilized world, you can reverse a wire transfer if it turns out to be fraudulent (and if the fraudster hasn't withdrawn the money by then). And if he has the money withdrawn, you (or the police) now have at least his identity... Banks have an obligation to be positively sure about their customer's real-world identity before they open an account for them (the "know your customer" rule), as part of the regulations against money laundering.

    There is a reason why most phishers use unwitting intermediaries ("money mules"): bank transfers are not anonymous for the receiver, and the receiver will be found out.

    With Pay-Pal, on the other hand, you are at the whim of a company who isn't accountable to any banking rules (because it is not a bank), and who doesn't hesitate to confiscate or freeze account's contents if they believe you associated with somebody who associated with somebody who they believe defrauded them.

  • by danb35 (112739) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:11AM (#41546951) Homepage

    I suspect the poster you're replying to is actually talking about the money transfer services like Western Union, not true bank wire transfers. Wire transfers have to go into a bank account, and the ownership of that bank account is known (by the receiving bank, at least, if not by the sender). They're not used very often in the U.S., though, because they tend to be expensive--$25 to send, and $15 to receive, seem to be common fees, though they can vary.

  • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:02AM (#41547159)
    This is why I appreciate sites like imdb.com [imdb.com] (films reviews), where you have to provide your cell phone number to which IMDB sends a SMS containing a code that you use to activate your reviewer and rater status.
  • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:05AM (#41547415) Homepage Journal

    nostro = "our", meaning transfers or accounts (usu. in foreign currency) to accounts held elsewhere (usu. in foreign banks).
    vostro = "their", meaning the same account seen from the opposite side of the fence.
    loro = "their", meaning transfers or accounts (usu. in own currency) through a third party (intermediary) bank.

    A loro transfer is the most common account/transfer method unless your bank actually has mutual accounts with the foreign bank.

    A typical transfer from the US goes[*]:
    sender
    -> request to your bank's central office for a FX
    -> debit of your account by main office
    -> loro some big foreign bank here
    -> nostro some big bank there
    -> giro to account holder
    and within a day, batched saldo (balance) adjustments between the banks

    In contrast, a typical international transfer from pretty much anywhere else in the world is two or three steps.

    [*]: Or rather, it doesn't unless you insist, because US banks tend to cut bank cheques so they can sit on the float for a week and take extra charges.

    You can save a step and charges by picking a loro that can do direct deposit to the foreign account, or if you use a big bank, a nostro that doesn't require a third bank on the remote end. Of course, that means that your bank must be able to list what loro/nostro connections they have. And the bank employee either understand how transfers work, or be able to direct you to someone who does.

  • by rwise2112 (648849) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:56AM (#41547871)

    There used to be abuse@fbi.gov - but that's been ignored for almost a decade now.

    Abuse email addresses are normally used to report spam or such coming from the domain. For instance if you were receiving spam from xxxx@fbi.gov, then that is the place to report it.

  • by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:45AM (#41548391) Journal
    OK, I'll bite.

    Worse than the UK one?

    If I want to send anyone money in the UK here's what I do:

    1. Login to my bank's website

    2a. If I've sent money to this person before: type in their sort code, account number and value.

    2b. If I've not sent money to this person before: two factor authorisation, type in their sort code, account number and value.

    3. Click the Go button

    This is called BACS and is instant for the vast majority of transactions and basically free. We also have the faster but more expensive CHAPS.

    Of course, give me an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and I can send money to anyone anywhere.

    We freely give out bank account numbers too. There's not a lot you can do with them except pay money in.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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