Online fraudsters use free email accounts – gasp!

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According to data collected over the last 3 years by Early Warning UK, a scheme set up to help retailers avoid credit card fraud, fraudsters intent on stealing the details of your credit card to buy things online use free email accounts from the likes of Yahoo and Hotmail.

It’s not hugely surprising, is it? After all, even the fraudster needs to use some kind of email address, and they’re hardly going to use a legitimate one when they can set up dozens of throwaway identities.

Early Warning have a database running into the tens of thousands of fraudsters – or at least, their temporary email addresses.

The problem has got so bad that some retailers now won’t accept any Yahoo or Hotmail email addresses. Too bad for legitimate users, but understandable.

Moira Powley, Director of online store theprinterdatabase.com, an Early
Warning subscriber, said that she’d stopped taking orders associated
with Yahoo! webmail accounts after repeated incidents of attempted
fraud.

"Do you Yahoo? Well, if you do, then I’m afraid we will assume you are
a fraudster! Why? Because the majority of fraudulent attempts to buy
online using a stolen identity have Yahoo! free email addresses. So,
when we see Fred.Bloggs@yahoo.co.uk, we assume it is fraud," she said.

The top ten free services used for dodgy dealings, according to Early Warning, are:

  1. Yahoo.com
  2. Yahoo.co.uk
  3. Hotmail.com
  4. AOL.com
  5. Hotmail.co.uk
  6. Parrot.com
  7. Postmaster.com
  8. Lycos.co.uk
  9. Lycos.com
  10. Msn.com

Andy Merrett