A new website aimed at combating online fraudsters – scamletters.com – is already having impact, with more than 150 scam E-mails identified and listed daily since its test launch five days ago, and various law enforcement agencies expressing interest in utilising its database.
The site, the brainchild of former SA Police Services commercial branch officer, Rian Visser, went live to the public yesterday and allows users to report scam letters which are then listed on its database. Among some of the letters on its front page today are the classic "father who has lost his wife and two children in a car crash" and a letter purporting to be from Saddam Hussein's son.
"All scam letters added to our database will be publicised in an attempt to prevent potential victims falling prey to online fraudsters," Visser says on the site's homepage. "Not only will this website alert potential victims to scam letters, but we have created our state-of-the-art database to assist law enforcement agencies from around the world to make use of this service by identifying the location of scammers and link possible syndicate activities."
Visser says that, until now, very little has been done by law enforcement agencies around the world with regard to reported scam letters.
"We have launched this free public service as a repository for the general public to report scam letters to, as well as a centralised resource for law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations in a thorough and proper manner," he says. "By adding scam letters to our database, users actively participate in a proactive fight against online scams and, at the same time, assist law enforcement agencies in proper crime investigations."