The internet has always been a breeding ground for fraud and criminal activity. This is just a function of the growth of the technology and the potential upside associated with this growth. The strengths of The Net are also areas for less legitimate people to exploit it.
It is going to be many years until consumers are 100% protected online from fraud, though we have made major inroads in this space. Everyday corporate America and Law Enforcement get smarter and stronger; the criminals become even more creative and slippery.
The media has provided a good outlet to raise awareness, in some cases to put fear into people beyond what is necessary. But that is the US media anyway. The good news is the technology is getting better and people are getting smarter. But even more important is the fact that people are able to connect in a true community environment now with social networks and blogs.
Last year I wrote about the potential for blogs to be used by local communities to communicate and raise awareness of issues, especially as it relates to local politics. I also dove into the fact that this phenomenon could be spread globally for issues that would be of value across the globe.
Well, fraud and crime might be the true test of this theory. There is a recent event where may be seeing the beginning of a new trend among victims of fraud and using blogs to communicate.
eBay sellers using the ID Alisher71 are wanted by authorities who are investigating fraud involving up to $100,000, according to a local Florida news crew.
eBay has suspended the account, but not before the sellers earned 108 negative feedbacks in the past 30 days and reached a low 82.3% feedback rating.
Someone calling themselves "Revenge" started a blog called AlisherSucks. The comments section of this blog is already longer than 500 posts, and many from those that were affected by this fraudulent behavior. One of the sites has already consolidated the information and value of all the crimes. One blog has a petition for eBay to create a better fraud protection. One blog has found photos of the alleged criminal. All of these blogs are connected and updated hourly. They also were brought up and running within a few hours.
This simple, but effective, use of blogs speaks to not only the strength of this technology, but also to the fact that it really reaches beyond self publishing and to the realms of social networking, local connections, and even global communications. Imagine how this technology will work during political campaigns, both national and local.
I am not only intrigued in what is happening in front of our faces, but am holding my breath to see where this technology takes us in the next few years.