Outmaneuvering Web Spammers, Stalkers, and Con Artists



(below) Author J.A. Hitchcock demonstrating online shopping safety for NBC news in December 2002
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As the number of Web users continues to swell, so do the number of online opportunists and con artists. Recognizing that "it's a jungle out there," cybercrimes expert J.A. Hitchcock has written a reader-friendly guide that helps Web users identify, avoid, and survive online scams and predators. Hitchcock details a broad range of abusive practices, shares victims experiences and anecdotes, and offers advice on how to handle junk e-mail, "flaming," privacy threats, financial scams, cyberstalking, and identity theft. Included are tips, strategies, and techniques that can be put to immediate use, and pointers to the laws, organizations, and Web resources that can aid victims and help them fight back.

You purchase bath products from an online shopping site. When you receive your credit card bill, you find there are several more charges on it. . .and you didn’t buy anything else.

You went to an online auction, bid on a photograph “signed” by a celebrity and won the photo. You sent your payment in and waited. And waited. You had difficulty getting the seller to respond, then found there were doubts about the authenticity of the autograph on the photo.

You begin to receive phone calls and knocks on your door, in answer to a message “you” placed online, stating you were selling various items or that they’d met you in a chat room. There’s one problem - you don’t own a computer.

You use e-mail and a web site to promote your business. Suddenly you’re inundated with e-mails from people who are angry because “you” sent them a nasty message, when you didn’t.

You’re on a newsgroup called and someone gets mad at something you write. Messages begin to appear from “you,” declaring other people on the group are morons and idiots. This results in e-mails from the people “you” offended. Your online account is canceled and your employer receives phone calls from people complaining that “you” are harassing them online - all because you asked an innocent question.

The above may seem like something that would never happen, but unfortunately, it does. . .to over 60,000 people a year. . .and that number is growing every day (statistics based on FBI and Victim Advocate organizations figures). According to ClikZ Stats, more than three in five US consumers say security concerns make them less likely to do business online and believe that consumers are not being adequately protected against cybercrime. NUA Surveys also estimates there are over 500 million people online worldwide - if only 1% become online victims, that is still over 5 million people! Anyone of any age - male or female - who uses the Web for business, school or pleasure is vulnerable to the above scenarios. . .and worse.

As President of WHO@ (Working to Halt Online Abuse), author J.A. Hitchcock and her advocates work with over 100 online victims a week.

NET CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS details how readers can protect themselves from becoming the victim of online frauds, scams, identity theft, e-mailbombers, spoofers, spammers, trolls, cyberstalkers, and more. They’ll also read how real-life victims from around the world handled their situations and what to do if a reader becomes a victim.