Federal Internet Law & Policy
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Fraud: The Porn Scam Collection Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY
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Mouse Trapping

Ever eager to attract new patrons, pornographers have engaged in a series of scams. But as the art of the scam has been perfected in dark recesses, they have made their way into mainstream by commercial websites zealously seeking to attract and keep consumers.


Page-Jacking a cute little Internet scam, frequently perpetrated by porn operators. The scam is simple. Copy a webpage in its entirety (copy its source code). Upload the page at a new address (new URL) but add a script which would automatically and instantly redirect traffic from that page to the scam artist's webpage. Now resubmit the copied page to search engines.

People searching for the original webpage in a search engine, who click on the link to the fake site, will end up automatically redirected to the scam artist's site. Page-Jacked websites have been as diverse as the Harvard Law Review and the Japanese Friendship Garden.

The FTC has taken action against Page Jacking on multiple occasions. The FTC has successfully persuaded judges that such conduct amounts to deceptive and unfair trade practice in violation of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a). The FTC notes that such practices also potentially violate copyright law. If the page jacking involves hacking into the domain names system in order to redirect traffic, this could be a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.


Another novel scam of pornographers was to promise free access to pornography - but the patron had to down load some free software. First thing this software did was turn off the modem sound in the computer. Next the program hung up the dial up connection, and then redialed an off shore phone number. The result was that in exchange for free access to the pornography, the patron was greeted with a sizable international long distance phone bill, the proceeds of which going to the free porn website owner. The FTC has had success bringing actions "against the use of executable dialer programs that hijack consumers modems and connect them to adult sites."

Update: It is being reported that autodialers are being installed on individual's computers through pop-ups.


Pop up ads and pop up windows are annoying. When it happens once its annoying. But what if it happens over and over again. What if every time you try to close one of those windows, another appears. And then another, and then another. And no matter how much whack-a-mole you play with your mouse, you cannot close the windows as fast as they open.

This scam is called MouseTrapping because your mouse is trapped within these windows and you feel like there is nothing that you can do about it (Hint: trying hitting ALT F4 closing your browser). As with the above scams, the FTC has successfully prosecuted several MouseTrapping cases.


Modem Dialing



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