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Jesse Willms, the Dark Lord of the Internet - Taylor Clark - The Atlantic

Society & Culture  (tags: )

- 1631 days ago -
Willms defrauded consumers of some $467 million by enticing them to sign up for "risk free" product trials and then billing their cards recurring fees for a litany of automatically enrolled services they hadn't noticed in the fine print. SPAMMERS UNMASKED

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Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday January 3, 2014, 12:55 pm
In May 2011, after a year-and-a-half-long investigation that tracked his cash streams all the way to England and Cyprus, the FTC filed a sprawling lawsuit against Willms. The agency’s allegations were enough to drive an icy spike of fear into the heart of anyone who has ever typed in a credit-card number online: between 2007 and 2011, the lawsuit claimed, Willms defrauded consumers of some $467 million by enticing them to sign up for “risk free” product trials
and then billing their cards recurring fees for a litany of automatically enrolled services they hadn’t noticed in the fine print. In just a few months, Willms’s companies could charge a consumer hundreds of dollars like this, and making the flurry of debits stop was such a convoluted process for those ensnared by one of his schemes that some customers just canceled their credit cards and opened new ones.

If you’ve used the Internet at all in the past six years, your cursor has probably lingered over ads for Willms’s Web sites more times than you’d suspect. His pitches generally fit in nicely with what have become the classics of the dubious-ad genre: tropes like photos of comely newscasters alongside fake headlines such as “Shocking Diet Secrets Exposed!”;

too-good-to-be-true stories of a “local mom” who “earns $629/day working from home”;

clusters of text links for miracle teeth whiteners and “loopholes” entitling you to government grants; and most notorious of all, eye-grabbing animations of disappearing “belly fat” coupled with a tagline promising the same results if you follow “1 weird old trick.” (A clue: the “trick” involves typing in 16 digits and an expiration date.)


Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday January 3, 2014, 1:03 pm
On Web sites small and large, from backwater message boards to reputable news outlets, these sorts of ads have been appearing for years—long enough that most of us have learned to see them as the background static of the Internet. Because the work-at-home schemes and mango-based colon cleansers they peddle are so obviously fishy, the companies that promote them are seldom spectacularly profitable. Willms, on the other hand, used these same channels to capture 4 million paying customers and nearly half a billion dollars in sales, all at an age when many people are spending their work hours upselling the Never Ending Pasta Bowl at Olive Garden. “There are others doing similar things,” Ben Edelman, a Harvard Business School professor and an expert in online-advertising fraud, told me. “But Willms was doing it on a remarkable scale, by all indications as large as anyone—maybe the largest.”

Thus, simply accusing Willms of being a scammer does him a disservice; what he accomplished elicits something close to awe, even among his critics. “Jesse ran what was effectively a phantom empire scattered all over the world,” one of the many lawyers who have been involved in litigation against Willms told me. “His genius was that he was able to make it all function, and make it all look like a legitimate enterprise.”

Now 26 and already having made and lost multiple fortunes, Jesse Willms provides us with a perfect symbol of the savage landscape of online commerce. If the Internet is still in many ways a Wild West, seemingly ungovernable in its vastness, then people like Willms may well be its canny snake-oil salesmen, talking fast and hustling unsuspecting consumers in the digital equivalent of broad daylight. Of course, few among us open our Web browsers expecting to enter a wonderland of honesty and civility—but still, given its ever-growing prevalence in our lives, the Internet continues to be astoundingly underpoliced. Regulatory authorities like the FTC are undermanned; courts seem reluctant to punish offenders; and worse yet, even the sheriffs we believe are imposing order online—Google, Yahoo, Microsoft—often end up providing scammers with a platform for deception.
To understand Willms’s success, then, is to understand a much larger expanse of the Internet’s seedy commercial underbelly, along with the hazards it poses to anyone who ventures online. So the question is, how did he do it?

Sue Matheson (79)
Friday January 3, 2014, 2:33 pm

Winnie A (179)
Friday January 3, 2014, 3:59 pm

Yvonne White (229)
Friday January 3, 2014, 4:15 pm
Right on BMutiny! "a tagline promising the same results if you follow “1 weird old trick.” (A clue: the “trick” involves typing in 16 digits and an expiration date.)" While I don't understand why anyone would click on the spammer links, if only a few do it corrupts the Care2 system & trust! :(

. (0)
Friday January 3, 2014, 4:38 pm
I wonder how many accounts he has on Care2! :-)

roxy H (350)
Friday January 3, 2014, 4:40 pm
sweety B you had a name up on this a few days ago? linda liu or lisa lui, I seen this same name on a CNN news link saying she is some kind of journalist - wanna-be now... the same name you had posted, ( i was in for emergency surgery yesterday) I am still kind of foggy, but know for a fact that name was the same one you had on target..please look it up further ( also, CNN is owned by NRC which means nuclear resource center and is being swayed to de-spell and step away from science and all global warming theories) Plus they were the producers of Pandora's Promise which is now directly linked to selling poisoned fish to the USA. soooo to have this woman as a CNN journalist is really disturbing

Sam H (410)
Friday January 3, 2014, 4:56 pm
BMutiny, you seem to be making the assumption that your/our interests and Care2's are one and the same. Well, we know better, don't we?

Morgan F (37)
Friday January 3, 2014, 6:08 pm

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 3, 2014, 6:22 pm
Again, thx Barbara, I read it all before but sure is worthy being reposted and reoeated until all have seen it.
The point here for Care2 s, however exactly that-the $. As long as we have no FREE suggestion I assume this status quo will remain.
One thing you have not addressed here are the GROUPS where they assemble. When I recently saw one AI group I had not even read your warning PMs yet but it seemed really strange to me that 42 new members ! had joined that AI group all at once.

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 3, 2014, 6:39 pm
Plus grouos are less easy to spot right away than individual profiles-and as many groups as there are on C2 makes it harder to find them. it is unbelievable that support staff is not taking these issues more seriously! I too have seen many of C2NN posts newly submitted with openly porn content hinted.

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 3, 2014, 6:41 pm
makes me wonder just WHAT is considered "somethong bad" by C2 guidelines? - These posts can be seen and if they stay on means C2 doesn't think they're "bad"..

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 3, 2014, 6:49 pm
Forgot to say that I did flag them right there as SPAM (they have no other suitable button)-but don't know if that post becomes invisible to only ME or to everyone after flagging.

ScoTT S (31)
Friday January 3, 2014, 7:36 pm
The more time we have to spend dealing with this, the less good Care2 gets to do. I had no idea it was this bad. Thanks B.

Ellen J (62)
Friday January 3, 2014, 7:51 pm
Thanks, Barbara. I've been trying to report newbie spammers to C2 - I flag them as inappropriate and then explain why.

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 3, 2014, 8:08 pm
Barbara-I was NOT speaking of flagging PROFILES but their NEWSPOSTS when i see them-usually you find some under the newly submitted section of C2NN- that newspost disappears after you flag it-but as said above-no idea if OTHERS can still see it or if it re-appears later.

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 3, 2014, 8:16 pm
It is also a shame that the flagging function directly from the PM (personal message) you receive for a comment does NOT WORK- I'd rather flag those spammers/scammers right from my message than going to that respective newsstory where the spam comment is. I posted about this issue in F&S and also informed Eric-no response.

Sam H (410)
Friday January 3, 2014, 9:31 pm
I'm no old woman! Hell, not a young one either!

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday January 3, 2014, 9:37 pm
I meant "Old Women" in a METAPHORICAL sense - as used to diss, to put down both men & women of all ages.
But I KNEW you knew that!

Vivian B (169)
Friday January 3, 2014, 11:34 pm
Man, this is disheartening news. I guess I have been in a bubble! Thought this was a safe place to try to do some good and help living things. What a load of crap! They are doing the exact same thing that Snapchat did. Not listening to people telling them they were open to attack, so they attacked them. I guess we will be dead and gone before C2 will wake up and do a little programming upkeep!
This was such a good feeling site. And to think those empty profiles are ticking time-bombs! Gotta go through all the profiles I'm friends with and check them out. Either that, or delete my account. I hate leaving, but if it doesn't change, I will.
Thanks, B. I read all the story and am sufficiently sick now!

Susanne R (235)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:13 am
I just spent the last 20 minutes flagging the majority of the new members (Barbara has explained how you can access that page). Once you click on their profiles, there's a "flag" option at the bottom of the right side of the page. I Indicated in my message to Care2 that the same photos were being used for multiple new members --all with different profile information. Some of them provided links to their homepage, which I was too cautious to access. Based on some of the words in their links, it appears that they're spammers or connecting clickers to a blog site.

Thanks for sharing this information, Barbara. It's unfortunate that members feel the need to take it upon themselves to monitor this site to keep it safe.

John B (185)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 2:32 am
Thanks Barbara for posting Mr. Clark's very long but extremely detailed and informative article. The Dark-Web is out there and infringing on care2 and everywhere. Thanks so much for keeping this issue out in the open for others to see and heed the warnings. Read and appreciatively noted.

kate K (481)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:13 am
great article Barbara .I had no idea about him thank you for posting

pam w (139)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 6:26 am
Thanks, Mutiny! I'll flag spam any time I see it and wish others would, too.

Like many of you, I don't understand how ANYONE could be naive enough to click on this crappola but education will help avoid that risk.

Thanks again!

Sam H (410)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 6:58 am
As a metaphorical old woman I have to share some observations with you. Out of 23,536,347 members doing good on Care2, how many do you think are breathing members? On any one day, how many actual members are here on Care2 doing anything at all? If only a tiny bit of those millions are here, is it in Care2’s best interest to share those actual numbers with us or with its advertisers?

The larger the number—fake or real—the better position Care2 will be in as a purveyor of “eyeballs” to its advertisers.

And that’s exactly the job of a click farm. Advertisers pay per click in the hope of exposing clickers to their products and/or converting them to paying customers. Well, there could be other reasons, but let’s stick with this one for the purpose of our discussion.

When Care2 members are encouraged to click to help a cause with no intention a patronizing the advertising business, how legitimate are these clicks?

If fake clicks generate money (regardless of how ethical or unethical the practice is), why don’t Care2 members click their way to riches on their own and donate the proceeds directly to their charities?

Aside from uninterested eyeballs, Care2 members provide free content to Care2 to keep the site interesting. In return, they collect green stars while others pad their pockets.

This is the Care2 model. It thrives on unsuspecting members wanting to feel good about their passive activism by just clicking and unsuspecting or suspecting advertisers who can afford to part with some advertising dollars to be present on a “green” site.

If coming clean means jeopardizing such an operation, why would the beneficiary of such an operation choose to do so?

Kitty Heardman (22)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 7:39 am

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 8:01 am
Over and again I am simply amazed how often the word "advertise/advertisers " is used which suggests to me that obviously a large number of users are NOT EVEN USING THE AD-BLOCK PLUS or any of the other ad-blockers available. personally, I have NEVER SEEN ANY TYPE OF ADVERTISEMENT ON ANY CARE 2 PAGE. What am I missing out on here? or am I ?

divergent revolution (309)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 8:04 am
thanks , B , I never take "risk free" trials
thank Dog!!!!!!!
You as always get to the bottom of things others just blindly accept

Robert O (12)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 8:34 am
Thank you for this information.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 8:40 am
Secret Service probing data theft from Target customers

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 8:56 am
And once again i want to point out : as long as THIS CARE2 is A FREE TO USE SITE NOTHING WILL CHANGE .
USING THE INTERNET in GENERAL is just AS DANGEROUS AS REAL LIFE IS, there is NO DIFFERENCE TO VIRTUAL LIFE! C2 might be inclined to better their software and techniques to fight these Spam/Scam invasion IF USERS ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR THIS EXTRA SERVICE.- after all this is a BUSINESS and not a welfare site.
Having said this, by no means am I saying that I excuse, tolerate or otherwise appreciate these occurances..I'm just facing realities or what I FEEL are realities.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 9:01 am
Nobody is FORCED to join-and free to leave at any time if they are not satisfied-I assume this will be the official stand by C2 and also remain such.

Krish Away (43)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 9:28 am
Thx Barbara.. I appreciate what you are doing.. thx to Angelika for giving me this link.
My main question is.. why only ONE Customer Support person is handling all this?

roxy H (350)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 11:15 am
oh my darling, your using my people :D *giggle* , I have an incredible bunch of friends that post for wsj, they are extremely intelligent like you. well done

roxy H (350)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 11:21 am
in care2 defense, they are from Aus. and have been behind us for many years. The system here is outdated. They have never *updated* the system because when ndaa laws were started it was putting everyones personal information onto the web. I have proof that care2 stood up and said NO! They decided to keep the *old system so they would not have to hand over all of our data. Made it easier for people to join care2 but not simple for care2 to give us up. anyone understand this? sold out to big corp. .. care2 did not! I have many links to prove this

roxy H (350)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 11:22 am
if anyone wants to see this information, i can post it on indent. group

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 11:23 am
@ Krish- sort of easy answer-wouldn't you think ?!;) I said it all before..
.. and that also goes for Barbara's questions and suggestions raised here... THAT particular issue about abuse of Randy's pic was largely discussed in F&S as well-and "taken care of". If any such serious case as criminal abuse of some member's CC should occur I am sure that C2 could never be held accountable and will definitely have that in their terms(tho i've not read them in full, I admit) Businesses may have contracts that average people would hardly understand the wording of such. Risk taking is just that-and always at one's personal risk.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 11:30 am
Roxy-we appreciate your additional info-but wouldn't you think (and agree) that BY NOW "they" have had their ways to monitor C2 just as they've been doing all other large businesses, especially those of IT and communications nature, including getting hold of all data.

roxy H (350)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 11:33 am
yea, i think it might be in a catch 22 area by now. too late, they are stuck, old system. time to do something

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 11:57 am
besides- i can imagine what enormous COSTS are also involved in doing a major UPGRADE to such a large website as this one is!

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:00 pm
the few minor alterations to our convenience are a good thart but i wouldn't expect much more..not for free, unless it is beneficial to C2 at the same time.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:01 pm

Krish Away (43)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:06 pm
I have personally spent hours {cumulatively} flagging those profiles..
hmm.. looks like there is nothing much we can do about it other than flagging

I do not certainly know the business model of C2..
so I cannot comment on whether it can hire additional support or NOT..
but.. shouldn't everyone appreciate a helping hand to Eric in solving our requests? & SPAM deleting ?
I mean..issues that are technical &/or those which cannot be resolved in help groups

Sam H (410)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:08 pm
The thing to remember is no matter how hard they try, they’re going to come up short. They’re not going to be better at it than Target was. They’re not going to better at it than the NSA was. Granted, that the NSA was no match to Snowden, but that’s another topic for another day. But if you remember what a small-time criminal--who’s now rotting in jail in Florida--used to do to Care2, you’ll realize that it wasn’t an easy issue for them to handle then. Their solution was to pacify him all the time. I don’t think it got any easier for them since, especially with more dedicated criminals than that foolish one. Their inability to do anything about it is one issue; their unwillingness another!

I’d be satisfied if Care2 were to address their clicking business and apologize for fooling their members into participating in such a scheme.

Fat chance in hell! If they did, their income stream would dry up!

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:28 pm
Sam-there are alot of members not on C2 as long as you have been-me included. would you care to share more info on that FL detainee with us? Got me ALL CURIOUS now-and always good to learn some history-regardless whose :)

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:37 pm
I of course join BM once again in wishing you quick recovery, Roxy darling !:)

Barbara there is NO EVIDENCE that "Randy KNEW ABOUT THE SCAM AND ALLOWED HIS PIC TO BE USED AND KNEW HOW HE COULD STOP IT BUT DIDN'T." -that is a rather bold claim and I would not be surprised if it got YOU in trouble in response...the same applies for "encouraging"..

Sam H (410)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:39 pm
Sorry Angelika,

I know it sounded like an inside joke, but I didn't wanna appear gloating. This link may answer your question:

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 12:43 pm
..I doubt "beyond any repair"-seriously doubt that. If only those 20 "real new members" out of the daily 42 (appears a very low number, obviously for tech resons not displayed any different way) stay on-and recruit other new ones- that suffices.

Krish Away (43)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 1:07 pm
Hmm.. I see 25/42 spammers now.. have you observed the pattern.. they come in a group one after another.. then give a break & then come again in another group often distorted..

Even the ones whose profile pic is not similar but has four squares at bottom right are SPAM.. other species is those which advertise directly in profile pic but don't post any business link.. should never trust anyone with their PIC.. just like the saying goes..

"Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover"..

Open the profile page {if its not similar looking} and verify & then report
But DON'T click on their links.. that's what they WANT you to do.. even for verifying purposes..
if it's a genuine website.. which could be their blog etc.. you can easily tell.. but otherwise they are SPAM

Krish Away (43)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 1:36 pm
To add to what Barbara is saying here.. check the COMMENTS posted for Care2 by WOT users complaining about SPAM

Not to be worried though.. WOT gives Care2 a Green circle & says "Excellent" meaning its trustworthy !

Krish Away (43)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 1:39 pm

Birgit W (160)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 2:31 pm
Thanks for sharing.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 2:44 pm
LOTS of reading to do here-hard to keep up with commenting at the same time..
KRISH- those comments there are basically referring to the newsletters one receives after having sent a reply C2 E-card AND FAILED TO UNCHECK THOSE 4 BOXES TO RECEIVE THEIR NEWSLETTERS! CANNOT BLAME ANYONE BUT THESE USERS /SENDERS OF CARDS THEMSELVES!!

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 2:48 pm
TO SAM- THANK YOU for that link-will have to check that out later-as soon as i get a chance to go to another tab-get off here ;)
To Barbara-sorry, my bad-about the "42" - misinterpreted you ,-of course there are more new members- fake or real- joining daily.
And the rotating of these profiles is of course software-driven just like our avatars on the ckick-to-donate Top Clickers.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 2:52 pm
As for the "sticking point" here which is of course $$$$-C2 like any other business will probably adopt the slogan that any good business is and must be able to suffer a certain % of loss. -the masses compensate that.
We always say here "es gibt Geschäfte da zahlen wir drauf-die Masse macht es".

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 2:57 pm
When disgusted C2 members LEAVE IN TROVES OF THOUSAND /DAY IS WHEN C2 MAY tackle the issue ...

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 3:12 pm
checked Sam's group link, -I see-glad I never met that dude ..and reminds me of course of some members we currently have here..tho rather harmless, yet a pain in the butt whenever they decide to show up on "their fav topic"

Sam H (410)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:03 pm
I just sent a message, then this quote came up on the screen:

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."

- Noam Chomsky

Is it relevant to this discussion?

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:06 pm

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:11 pm
BARBARA ,) IT DID NOT ACTUALLY IMPLY what you say there-I STATED that you COULD GET in trouble..;)( "not surprised IF it GOT YOU" -conjunctive) maybe I used wrong grammar? sorry in that case-is a foreign language to me

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:13 pm
* not "conjunctive"-you call it "subjunctive form"-just looked it up

Sam H (410)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:14 pm
Have you been peeking, Angelika?

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:20 pm
no no no no no, Angelika, absolutely no offense, no explanation necessary! I just used your statement as a "jumping off point" for my rhetoric! You didn't say anything I interpreted as "bad"! Future tense, past tense, future conditional, I really didn't make any grammatical distinction, just spoke with a flourish, that's all! Knowing I was definitely going "out on a limb", which is a fine English idiom! Expecting to find myself under fire from some quarters... which I'm used to!

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:22 pm
Here's what is "just me" on that: copy this entire post and send it to INTERPOL- maybe if they are so inclined they have better means to dig this all C2 won't. It makes perfect sense to me Barbara-and I too usually trust my gut feeling..

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:24 pm
Yes Sam-i peeked-and wait for you to get back to RED from purple-a simple mutation really :D
Btw BM-there are comments on the WOT site that suggest identification of this website as a phishing source- go figure..

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:29 pm
Geez over all this I didn't even get to make a single post to the news-could someone else perhaps please do that for me? I want THIS WELL WRITTEN PIECE OUT THERE(though from Dec last year)
Why Edward Snowden Deserves Amnesty

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:35 pm
quickly back to Sam - guess the point seems to be WHERE and HOW do those exercise their right to freedom of expression.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 5:13 pm
Yes you have BM-and we ponder..

Sam H (410)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 5:50 pm
Your story is up, Angelika, but who's gonna promote it now?

I haven't even read it, but I know I already disagree with the second reason!

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 7:52 pm
OOH wow-sorry tracking was also not working,-like so many other things in C2- thx a bunch for posting-does it need promoting? Just let it run free out there :-) -people can chose to read or not.. I get your point about the 2nd reason .. but you would actually have to read through it all..
(I can't believe i got lost in reading and doze off for a while )

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 5, 2014, 11:16 am
-from Jessie with love ?

Janis K (126)
Sunday January 5, 2014, 7:30 pm
Thanks for this amazing amount of info and for all your hard work Barbara. You're awesome!

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 10:19 am
any suggestions or answers to that?

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 11:24 am
I've noticed this too!
No idea why.... unless Care2 finally realized what this actually WAS.... and SERIOUS.
It can take a while to get thru to them...

Angelika R (143)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 11:50 am
Oh well, the assumed absence sure did not last long-..the pack is back!

Angelika R (143)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 12:05 pm
some comments disappeared here, ..just wondering..

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 2:09 pm
I just HATE having to spend time on Care2, when I'd MUCH rather be doing MORE PRODUCTIVE things, "chasing down" some of "the pack"...
I hope some OTHER people do this ALSO -

Companies obviously in Foreign Countries, since the English spelling and grammar are so poor...
No-one, and especially CARE2 MANAGEMENT, should be under the ILLUSION any more, that these are "people" with a "business" that they expect anyone to "buy" anything from...
And they are after LURING SUCKERS to try and entice, capture, steal, ANY WAY THEY CAN, whatever Info they can get - and I am sure they have VERY HI-TECH MEANS of doing so without your knowledge...
Please CIRCULATE this article. People should at least read that, if not the lo-ooong comments afterwards!

Angelika R (143)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 2:28 pm
Barbara, I am as comvinced as you are and have now also flagged each such "job offer" I spotted since last night as SCAM. Will pass around once more.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 2:39 pm
Yes, SCAM is a much better word than "Spam" which sounds fairly harmless, like it's a "nuisance". [Or a yucky meat product!]
We had better institute SCAM, SCAMMING and SCAMMERS, to Alert people to the DANGERS that they do pose!

I think that even if someone went over to such a site "out of Curiosity", they might be EXPOSING THEMSELVES...
I am certainly not a "Techie" in any sense, so I can't say with any certainly how it might or might not work...
But I DO know this, that there is ALL SORTS OF HI-TECH SOFTWARE OUT THERE that even some Techies haven't caught up with yet... and CRIMINALS ARE SURE TO BE RIGHT ON TOP OF IT AND USE IT as soon as it exists... that's how they stay ahead of being caught...

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 2:45 pm
Oh, was THIS posting, Jesse Willms, Dark Lord of the Internet, was it on the Care2 Front Page, and then it was taken OFF the Front Page?!?
I/we offended Care2?
It seems not to be listed on the Front Page any more!
Oh well.....

Angelika R (143)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 2:59 pm
Stories don't stay on there but so long, Barbara. When the next one hits the threshold the older ones get pushed back. This is now under the "past week" section, still there.

Krish Away (43)
Friday January 10, 2014, 5:03 am
Even I am wondering which of the comments are missing.. definitely the number of comments is less now than I saw it before

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 10, 2014, 5:49 am
for one thing, MY comments are missing-e.g. that copied Scam report from the F&S group!

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 11, 2014, 7:06 am
Barbara, Oh I see what you mean're right it's not there which IS quite STRANGE. Guess I didn't think of this sooner b/c I rarely ever, if at all, go to that "My News" page. I had flagged several Scams on at least 3 different of my stories the day before and posted your warning along with the link to THIS story right in the next comment wondering if I "awoke sleeping dogs" in doing so? The scams were removed by C2 pretty quickly, unlike before when the stuff stayed on there for days.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 11, 2014, 10:40 am
EXACTLY the TRUTH ! Barbara ( hope your comment will NOT get removed like one of mine was some time ago for using expression "not very bright" ;-) )

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 11, 2014, 10:42 am
I may be the type, as the Brits say, to "not suffer fools gladly"-THAT HOWEVER; is something C2 does not like to hear as applying to any of their members..

Alexandra G (250)
Sunday January 12, 2014, 3:12 am
very interesting article and very helpful comments -thanks

Linda Tonner (66)
Sunday January 12, 2014, 1:07 pm
I didn't know anything about this, but when I see, "My SIL is making $........................... a week, I go straight to find the profile. There NEVER is one! This is yer sign!!!!!

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 12, 2014, 2:34 pm
???? we'll never find that out I guess. The pack loves to fall in on weekends, knowing there IS NO C2 SUPPORT to remove them..and when support is back to work may need another 1-2 days, sufficient for a mass damage with a bit of luck^^ comments also can be removed by C2 only..with or without flagging

Angelika R (143)
Monday January 13, 2014, 10:57 am
???? I swear I saw a comment here earlier by BM addressing Linda Tonner's above- WHO is removing Barbara's comments and WHY???

Angelika R (143)
Monday January 13, 2014, 11:00 am
It is also gone from my PM inbox where I had not even read it yet, only had a brief flash and saw it was directed at Linda. I DON'T LIKE THIS STUFF missing any kind of explanation!

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday January 17, 2014, 3:51 am

The Brave New World of Cyberheists
Management is removing my comments, because they reflect badly on this site, and word might reach sponsors...]

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 17, 2014, 5:04 am
>out of words.. :-// do we now need to screen everything? copy and save? geez

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday January 17, 2014, 5:36 am

The Seedy Underbelly of Cyberspace - technobuffalo

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday January 17, 2014, 3:16 pm
Causes Article:
The $19 billion global black market in wildlife is not only threatening the survival of elephants hunted and other endangered species. It is threatening the very stability of governments, says a just-released study (pdf) by the conservation group WWF. Rebel groups are using funds from trafficking to purchase weapons and finance civil conflicts and even terrorist cells.

John Scanlon, secretary general of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), said that rebel groups are literally “cashing in” on world-wide demand for elephants, tigers and rhinoceros, whose body parts are in high demand in parts of Asia for use in traditional medicine. In northern Cameroon, Chad, the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, 450 elephants were slaughtered last year and their ivory directly used to finance arms and bribe government officials. The number of rhinos killed for their horns (worth some $600,000) has risen from about 20 a year to an expected 600 this year.

The illegal sale of animals and plants is, says the study, the fourth largest kind of illegal trading in the world, after narcotics, counterfeiting of products and currency and the trafficking of people.

The study is based on interviews with 15 government officials and seven representatives of international organizations that deal with trafficking. But two government officials objected to answer questions about government corruption and Vietnam, which has become a central market for the illicit trade in rhino horns, refused to participate.

Organized Crime Has Entered the Illegal Wildlife Trade
Even more, the WWF report suggests that “ power and sophisticated crime syndicates” are behind a huge rise in the illegal wildlife trade. The internet has also played a role as it has made illegal products available to many, many more

Read more:

'"power and sophisticated crime syndicates” are behind a huge rise in the illegal wildlife trade. The INTERNET has also played a role as it has made illegal products available to many, many more...'

And THAT, boys and girls, is the ULTIMATE PURPOSE of those "annoying ADS" that appear on weekends on OUR ANIMAL-LOVING SITE HERE.....!!!!!?????

Sam H (410)
Friday January 17, 2014, 7:25 pm
This may interest you, BMutiny!

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 2:26 am
What I am trying to Establish here -
and believe that I HAVE Established beyond any doubt -

is a DIRECT LINK between those "Annoying Ads" that come onto threads especially on the Weekends, come on by the DOZENS all at one time! - the "easy money easy living work at home from your computer says Cute Young Chickie" ads -

and, via RUSSIAN CYBER-CRIMINALS, aided by U.S. CRIMINALS such as JESSE WILLMS, recruiting thru THESE VERY SAME ADS, deceptively recruiting MULES to use the Internet to STEAL AND LAUNDER MONEY sent all over the place, ending up in CRIMINAL HANDS -

Drug and Weapons and HUMAN and ANIMAL TRAFFICKING. POACHED ANIMAL PARTS which are trafficked on the Internet - the only place they CAN be sold! without the Law stopping it! - leading to FUELING TERRORISM AND CIVIL WARS and mass deaths resulting from that...

There is a REAL DIRECT LINE HERE, that can be TRACED.
Annoying Ads - Credit Card and Identity Theft - recruiting "Mules" to pass Illegally-gotten money around in Cyberspace - Super-wealthy super-Criminals - Trafficking of all kinds on the "Dark Web" - Very lucrative Poaching and killing and selling body parts of Elephants, Rhinos, Tigers, etc. - Fueling Terrorism, Fanaticism, and Civil Wars.

No use hiding one's head in the sand!
I HAVE DONE THE RESEARCH - and ANYone can Replicate and Verify the SAME RESEARCH, thru multiple Channels!

THAT'S why I am so CONCERNED about those "Annoying Ads" - do they BELONG HERE? on a site that DOESN'T SUPPORT POACHING to say the least???
This is something that "some people" DON'T LIKE ME TO POINT OUT.

[You better SAVE THIS POSTING if you want to keep it - 'cause it MIGHT NOT BE ON HERE FOR LONG...]

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday January 18, 2014, 2:33 am
Sam - even MORE interesting to me, are more details about the Target Credit Card Attack.
Haven't I been telling people to BEWARE of having their Info and Credit Card Numbers STOLEN - that there's HI-TECH stuff out there that can do it EASILY?!

"The malware involved something called "memory-scraping," Reuters reported. That means that the moment you swipe your card the malware grabbed your credit card info.
This POS malware seems to be a known variety, spotted as early as June, 2013, Krebs says. It looks like something called BlackPOS that sells on hacker forums for $1,800-$2,300.

Hackers can sell the credit card numbers for $35 - $100 each. Gold or platinum credit cards go for $60 each, business credit cards $80 and some platinum cards, $100, Cisco security researcher Levi Gundert wrote this week in a blog post. That's a stunning potential payback on a $2,300 piece of software.

Read more:

Susanne R (235)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 2:09 pm
It boggles my mind to think that they're able to complete their "memory scraping" at the split-second before the information they're stealing becomes encrypted. Why can't they use their brilliant minds to do something that doesn't destroy other people's lives?

Sam H (410)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 2:21 pm
These guys end up working for the NSA. As a matter of fact, Susanne, encryption has become so useless because our information gets intercepted before it ever gets encrypted. And these crooks are always a step ahead of the government. So I'm not really sure there's a big different between them--they're both after what doesn't belong to them.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 2:32 pm
Have you all seen last night's report, or read somewhere, that Snowden took a course in hacking at one of India's many schools for this? and was said to be a brilliant student! :) you bet!

Sam H (410)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 3:04 pm
I didn't. Did he do that on his own, or was that part of the training he got for the job?

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 3:08 pm
Sam, unfortunately i didn't catch it all, was on CNN-sort of a surprise to me. Personally, I would not rule out that he was sent there but the report did say that it happened before his employment.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 3:14 pm
Barbara, at least yesterday until late evening there was obviously some watch over it active on C2. all my posts that hit front page were again spammed by the old familiar pirate prodikt sellers, only not with Chinese names that time. and they were removed immediately. Eric was certainly at work overtime-being a Saturday!(normally not at all there) as i could see by a star received for a comment i 'd made.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 4:01 pm
WRONG Barbara. That share stuff has already been noticed by Krish some weeks back! There may have been a break until this new outbreak you've observed yesterday. looks to me as if it were some kind of distraction , one attack from another.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 4:14 pm
For instance I have personally seen porn shares weeks ago, those you've mentioned earlier, but in shares!

Sam H (410)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 4:23 pm
Let me put my evil spin on this!

The thieves are stealing credit card information (among other things, I understand), but the customers are not liable for fraudulent activities on their cards, but the banks and credit card companies are. So far that’s a net GAIN, considering our views of these evil corporations! Target will lose the trust of its customers, so to attract them back in they’ll have to offer better prices—not quite an earthshattering loss for consumers.

Loss of privacy and identity theft are different issues, but the financial losses—as I see them—are borne by those big evil corporations.

Can a revolution against corporations be started that way?

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 4:56 pm
OK-think maybe I got it now-and the culprit too: It might just be SAM.H.- playing sort of a Robin Hood game? You never know these days..and about these people. If so I'd say GOOD ON YOU -and SHAME ON YOU for the other

Sam H (410)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 4:59 pm
I totally understand. But if the average citizen cannot do anything to these evil corporations, maybe a breed of good hackers can start a bloodless revolution and give the country back to the people! Something like a Robin Hood Gang!

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 4:59 pm
oh, and thanks for the "evil spin"-was quite helpful!

Sam H (410)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 5:02 pm
In the midst of this whole thing, I forgot to say how touching was the SHERLOCK HOLMES story, Barbara. Thanks for sharing!

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 5:16 pm
Barbara-you're not all alone with that "unique combination". Not saying I could ever reach your level but, I do have very similar traits. And my husband from whom I live separated, started his personal communications with Edgar Hoover at age 13! he followed through with the early experiemces and fascination throughout his career and made it a renowned person above Germany's borders as a criminal police Lieutenant Colonel in crime prevention. No question I learned a lot from him-although of course always to be kept secret and classified.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 5:18 pm
beyond, not above-sorry.

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 6:16 pm
I definitely know what you mean! and it is only people with these "antennas" have happening to them

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 6:32 pm
That was my intention, thx Barbara and Sam too. I left you my thanks on the thread in lack of stars for both.
I also wonder WHO is flagging you and also have noticed only one and of my friends! who *appeared* to at least dislike the word Scam and prefers Spam. jus speculation, hopefully and probably baseless.
Re-posting your warning IS great indeed!

Sam H (410)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 6:38 pm
It just occurred to me that Sam is 3/4 of Scam. Why did it take me this long to "C" that?

Sam H (410)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 6:55 pm
I'd say! Alternative is to post in German like you did on that other thread! *wink*

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 7:02 pm

Angelika R (143)
Sunday January 19, 2014, 7:04 pm
WILL IT WORK TO FLAG MYSELF NOW? wondering..I only know I cannot send a star to myself.I would love to flag all three of us, really!

Jae A (316)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 12:15 pm
It isn't the 'paid' advertisers..that is how the site survives and is made possible. that I am concerned's those posting their ads on threads 'a comment' , when in truth they are advertising....for free. If one wants to click on 'paid' advertisers ads that is their choice . To go to one from a 'thread comment' however is just plain ol stupid, naïve at best, of anyone to do...imo. The ol 'buyer beware' should apply when clicking on the ads of any site......imo. Ads focused on 'fast/easy 'lots of' big bucks/money' ..easy weight loss products... and so forth...well if ya must click on those, , don't be surprised if it turns out to not be what you thought it would be or turns out that your info provided to a company ends up in the hands of others...from shall I say...'the dark side of the internet' ..

That being said...I began reading the comments, but still have to go to the link provided with the topic..and finish reading all the comments or to read them all again after doing so. I did want to leave my basic , general comment at this time on the topic of 'spammers / scammers' to let BMutiny know that I am 'on it' even if not up to par on the discussion ...yet. :-) I do want to add that the info commenters are providing is most interesting and a bit unsettling to a degree for me at this time. I shall return after reading..taking in all the info etc.

I think that 'click with caution' is always good advice on any site. I also think that site 'monitors/staff' should do their research on the product/info advertising they accept before posting/ continuing to do business with an 'advertiser'. Not doing so too often can soon end a sites reputation or out right take it to the bottom of the 'user' list.......i.m.o There's more to the dollars than often meets the eye of site users/readers/members and all sites must make sure their readers/users are well protected and with their best interest as a priority focus, even if it means turning down a few bucks of 'less trusted' or known not to be trusted advertisers from other sites...reported on by news media and or users alike etc. ,of some paid for advertisers...imo....especially when a site is geared to the 'older'/'compassionate/moderate to lower income persons such as those on limited SS/pensions.... and or compassionate/caring and possibly a little too naïve persons etc. We can only watch over each other just so far when it comes to cyber space/internet sites, ya know. Sites that focus on those willing to give what they can to help others / environment / animals etc.
are prime targets for hackers and or just plain or scammers. There is where users need the help of the site owners/host when it comes to the paid for advertisers they accept/do business with.......i.m.o.

My thanks to all commenters thus far and to BMutiny for posting and doing such detailed research on the topic.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 1:31 pm
Barbara, a friendly but honest word here to you: While it is clear to me and most others reading this and porbably Care2 as well, that you are making all efforts to provocate them, we do not know what could already be going on beyond our view to tackle this issue. You might unintentionally just turn off some other readers by these many repetitive posts, thus taking even more time for others to read it all.
I bet Jae STILL hasn't finished.. :) hope you won't get me wrong, just a friendly tip or question or just thought..

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 2:58 pm
Yes, yes, all is right and we get you.We HAVE GOTTEN YOU some time ago, dear Barbara! ;) I am just afraid it might really turn people off reading and getting repeats and THEY might after all flag you- thus giving C2 the reason for this NEVER getting resolved.What we get out of it all at the end of the day will be same old, same old, same old- and nobody was helped at all.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 3:01 pm
Let's just ease up a bit on this, time to breathe; most have already seen this post within the first week or so, few "newcomers" here anyway. and if they bother to READ the linked ARTICLES, they can take it out from there. Still enough of YOUR additional explanation posts on here. Hope you agree! :)

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 3:32 pm
I like most here, SHARE your feelings on this 100%. but I know there will be others who also think they're better off investing their own, usually limited time, in the many other causes here rather than helping to resolve this very specific problem with the site. THAT is also the other true side of the story. Personally i wil also continue fighting for what is right, always have and always will, to the best of my abilities, without going crazy over it myself, though. If a majority would feel AND ACT as you do, Barbara, then AMERICA would NOT BE in the piss poor shaoe it is in today!

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 3:35 pm
*shape* -(no idea what's wrong with my keys-happens all the time with only o + p ://)

Jae A (316)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 1:20 pm
\Ok, as for computer generated members....care2 needs to do what many sites have done...when signing up to join a site you fill out everything and then you must 'type' in the words in an additional box that shows if you are a real person or not. Computer generated problem solved. Now to get care2 to set up such a 'join' for membership system huh :-).

Angelika R (143)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 2:22 pm
Jae, why you think that number, these magic 23 million something STICKS there unchanged since ages?;)

Jae A (316)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 2:33 pm
Humm...I'm guessing.........For all the 'obvious' reasons that have already been mentioned by others...... :-)..but that wasn't my point...a solution for keeping computer generated members from slam dunk'n things, so ta say. But the problem can only be solved if care2 wants it to be , eh. I get your point about that. Anywho, that's enough about this for me for now.

Once again thanks for sharing BMutiny and to those who have left comments ........

Angelika R (143)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 3:37 pm
The Brave New World of Cyberheists, Seattle Weekly
The Seedy Underbelly of Cyberspace, the Dark Web - technobuffalo

Rose Becke (141)
Wednesday February 19, 2014, 1:37 am
I flag all the time
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