The Din of Inequity

The Din of Inequity

...yes, I spelled it that way on purpose.

Friday, April 30, 2004

How Would You Put That On A Resume?

For the last week or so, my company's website (I always say, My Website, but that's not strictly true, especially now that I have a blog) has been under attack, if you like, by scammers. It started last Friday, when we got an inordinately large number of orders for things like MP3 players, watches and jewelry--easily re-sellable stuff, natch. The website supports a general merchandise catalog, so of course we get orders for that stuff, but it's rare that we get the same customer coming back every six minutes to buy more. If you took it at face value, there's someone on the other end of the browser who keeps saying, "Oh crap! I just remembered I wanted four of those $150 clock radio/CD/MP3 players, not two, and I just hit the submit key!" Then moments later, "Shit, what was I thinking--I really need seven of those. Better log right back in and get three more."

Not being one to take things at face value, I thought it looked suspicious. Even so, I didn't do anything about it until Tuesday, when it was plain that this was getting out of hand. Once I realized it really was a thing, and I wasn't just imagining things,* it was pretty easy to see there was a problem, and report it to our fulfillment house for them to put holds on all these orders. They've tried to buy upwards of $20,000 worth of fungible goods in the last week, so I'm glad I got suspicious.

I've spent a fair amount of time over the last couple of days trying to put a face on these fraudsters. It's not easy, of course--all the email addresses are with free services, so I'm not going to get anywhere with that--but I was able to pull some stuff from the server logs and get the IP addresses of our unwelcome visitors. From there I was able to find out what companies had been issued those IP addresses ( rocks!), and where do you think most of them are based? Riiiiight. Nigeria.

This really explained why we never got any of these scam orders after about 11 am. It's been very handy, since I can spend the latter part of the day getting real work done without having to worry about those thieving assholes, but it seemed strange at first. As soon as I saw Nigeria, I started thinking about time zones, and sure enough, it looks like I've got some nine-to-fiver in Lagos robbing us in his or her free time at work. Graft only during regular business hours, Sundays off (really--no scammers on Sunday).

Man, I've totally lost the thread. I just got a lengthy preliminary phone call from a company that wants to do coding for me, and it's sapped my will to live. I'm pretty sure I was working up to some great zinger about Nigerian scammers and how it's such a part of the culture there now that it's like a regular day job, but my brain has been turned to mush. Maybe on Monday it'll be better.

On the upside, I interviewed two very good candidates for the assistant job today. I guess the old saying is true--it's always in the last place you look.

* It's easy to imagine you're seeing a pattern in online sales, especially if you're like me and are completely mystified by the crap that people seem willing to buy. When you can't imagine anyone wanting a life-size plaster replica of the foot--only the foot--of some Greek statue, and they buy it anyway, even the more outlandish theories start to sound plausible. "Of course we had a run on sculptures of dogs in London Bobby outfits--there was an article on Yahoo about the Queen's colon surgery today!"

|| Bikeboy 1:46 PM ||
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