A recent foray into using a credit card to pay online proved quite enlightening. The only thing it 'lightened' was my daughter's wallet.
While she is very familiar with my views about stealing music and not paying artists (heretofore the sole domain of record companies) she knows that I don't hold any stead in Apple being able to stop her playing her legally bought tracks on whatever she pleases,
wherever and whenever she pleases.
With that in mind she tried to 'do the right thing' and sign up to a music download service which purportedly pays the artists.
She found a site and signed up for a small monthly fee.
No music downloads eventuated. Nor any payments to artists.
A big bill on the credit card did.
A little look at the fraudulent site and it becomes clear that the web of fraud extends to other affiliated sites, doing everything from selling unlicensed music downloads, non-existent goods, fake anti-virus software, 'free access' just give us your credit
card number and we won't (but do) bill you and no doubt a plethora of other hard and soft frauds.
Following the web of fraud leads to the major online payments providers, digital money processors and of course included the credit card brand which authorized the fraudulent payment to a company which is obviously a fraud.
The online payment friends are participating as the conduit for payments from the dodgy 'cash cow' sites who receive large 'commissions' for placing ads used for milking and tricking internet users into purchases, or perhaps just plain billing cards.
The search engines are participating giving these cash milkers traffic and somewhere a bank is paying the criminals behind it.
All in all, the average web user doesn't have a chance when the 'machine' is feeding itself off the fraud and all the major players are reaping short term rewards. It appears that anyone can set up a merchant account and start billing fraudulently or otherwise
on the flimsiest of precepts.
I do not advise anyone to use any form of credit card on the internet and even the 'debit' credit card will see you likely defrauded as the criminals know that all they have to do is hijack the site/connection, interrupt the transaction or whatever and your
money destined for a legitimate site disappears into the hands of fraudsters before you can contact billing support at the legitimate site.
In fact there is so much fraud now that it is clear that the banks and card processors are incompetent at preventing criminals from using their systems to perpetrate the fraud or perhaps there's a few inside jobs going on somewhere.
Or could it be that the whole system is flawed, and it's just a web of fraud?
Law enforcement doesn't stand a chance when the major players are actually facilitating the whole fraud process.
Consumers are being ripped off at both ends, fraud, fees, and having to pay taxes to pay for law enforcement to fight the fight that they just can't win, given the current circumstances.
There's certainly little left to pay the artists creating all this content.
On a lighter note I decided to look into the(my) past on the inter-web machine to a time where I was briefly a recording artist and see if I've earn't any royalties(nil). It was funny to be reminded that I wrote and recorded a track called 'What ya gonna do'
(when you get some money). It is listed as performed by the 'Bondi Beach Nudists', an offshoot of the Bondi Beach Nightime Nude Surfing Club of which I was a founding member.
At the time I was trying to convince the recording industry to let me put all their tracks on the internet thingy, and sell CD's on demand (bandwidth was too limited for even mp3 downloads back then but we were ready). They didn't take the web thing seriously
nor perhaps me.
Did they know about the nude surfing thing?
Like everything in the digital age, it was there for all to see and was bound to come out and embarrass me sometime.
How much profit is your bank or credit card provider making from illegal downloads and fraud?