The Scam Directory is a voluntary project started by a cyber-crime academic researcher and an Infosec expert to highlight the growing problem of online e-commerce fraud. Specifically, we document websites which practice “non-delivery fraud”, which means that a consumer will pay for a product and simply not receive it. How we identify these websites is a trade secret (we don’t want the criminals adapting), however, we are happy to speak to appropriate parties about our work in more detail.
The majority of the documented fraudulent websites in our database are created by offenders from Cameroon, however, we are increasingly identifying more of these websites are run by Indian and Ukrainian nationals. Unfortunately non-delivery fraud is truly becoming a global phenomenon now. The offenders running these fraudulent websites are also very good at what they do, in many cases victims are asked to pay using non-refundable payment methods meaning that the misconception of fraud being a “victimless crime” is simply not true. Many of the victims we speak to pay from their own pocket and cannot claim the money back from a bank.
One aspect of our work which has become very clear to us is that “non-delivery fraud” websites commonly claim to sell products where there is a sense of urgency, high emotion or other aspect which is likely to blur potential victims from doing their due-diligence. This is why we often find large amounts of drug, pharmaceutical and fake document websites. We are not the police, however, and believe that nobody should be defrauded on the internet regardless of what they buy. Furthermore, online fraud is a global problem and we believe that there should be a global solution. We help consumers from all over the world.
We do a lot of work with many different partners. Our partner website is called “petscams.com” which documents fraudulent pet websites. We have recorded over 18,000 websites there and have received comments from over 12,000 victims of fraud. Externally, we have partnered with the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau and scamadviser.com.