Net vigilantes target 419 sites

48-hour flash mob protest

Artists Against 419 (AA419) has organised a 48-hour online protest against advanced fee fraud, otherwise known as the 419 scam. The protest is an organised version of the SlashDot effect – whereby a huge number of visitors turn up at a site, overwhelming its bandwidth allocation. The virtual flash mob began at midnight on 1 August and has already taken down three of its targets.

The organisers describe the event as the nightmare of all fake lotteries:

Basically our aim is to shut down 4 fake lottery web sites in less than 48 hours! Furthermore this online event shall make web hosting companies, the authorities and the media more aware of the problem of the Nigerian 419 fraud, it's lottery variant and particular of the problem with criminal fake websites.

The site calls on concerned Netizens to visit the fake sites and repeatedly download all their images. As we reported, one effect of this activity is that it costs the site holders money. The other is that the ISP hosting the site notices the activity, and shuts the site down. AA419 estimated in April that since it began operating, 85 scam sites have been removed.

Artists Against 419 does not only advocate attacking the fake bank sites. It also recommends that readers report the fraudulent activity to relevant authorities. For example, several of the fake sites have a Verisign Trusted Site Seal. AA419 says: report this to Verisign.

The site also has a long list of ways to report the scammers to the police in Holland, the UK and the US. ®

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