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Online Retailers Cruising Tor To Hunt For Fraudsters

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the behind-the-curtain dept.

Privacy 188

Daniel_Stuckey writes "This week, the verification company Service Objects announced a new tool to help websites detect 'suspicious' visitors using Tor and other anonymous proxies. Its updated DOTS IP Address Validation product identifies 'suspicious' discrepancies between the user's home location and the location of the IP address the order's coming from. It joins a handful of other tools on the market promising Tor-detection for retailers. It's a logical strategy: If you're trying to buy something with a stolen credit card, you're obviously going to want to block your real identity and location while doing it. But it also raises the question of whether targeting anonymity services to hunt out fraudsters could have chilling effects for harmless Tor users trying to protect their privacy online—particularly this year in light of the NSA-spying scandal."

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188 comments

LOL wut? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231211)

"But it also raises the question of whether targeting anonymity services to hunt out fraudsters could have chilling effects for harmless Tor users trying to protect their privacy online"

Umm.. the user is ordering something using their name, credit card, and address. They are not going to use Tor to protect their anonymity.

Re:LOL wut? (2)

petteyg359 (1847514) | about 6 months ago | (#45231225)

Why are they only allowed to attempt anonymity in relation to the store? Perhaps they just want to remain untracked by their ISP, and foul up any GeoIP-based advertising.

Re:LOL wut? (2, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | about 6 months ago | (#45231483)

So they trust nobody and in turn expect stores to trust them? I don't think so. You can't have it both ways. Either behave like a normal customer and be treated as such or behave in an erratic paranoid manner and expect to receive the same treatment from your retailer. Just for fun, walk into a department store wearing a balaclava and look around three or four times before you pick up something. See how long it takes before security takes an interest in you.

Re:LOL wut? (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 6 months ago | (#45231751)

Re:LOL wut? (2)

fatphil (181876) | about 6 months ago | (#45232005)

"This video contains content from Chaser Broadcasting Pty Ltd and The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, one or more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds. "

Can someone in a country that is trusted please make an illegal copy and upload it elsewhere? I promise I won't make any further copies, as I'm a good law-abiding citizen.

Re:LOL wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231955)

How is protecting your privacy acting erratic and paranoid? It's not paranoia to want to defend civil liberties. I question the motives of anyone who says otherwise.

I also find your analogy of acting suspicious in a department store inane. With the exception that goods and services are exchanged for currency, shopping online is nothing like shopping in a physical store.

Re:LOL wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232017)

So they trust nobody and in turn expect stores to trust them?

That is a good question but misses the GP's point: Maybe he doesn't mind trusting the store, but does mind trusting all the parties shipping traffic between him and the store. Maybe he's traveling and a public wifi of uncertain provenance is all that's available.

But now that you mentioned it, well, that is the problem, isn't it? If I go there and pay in cash all they need to be sure of is that the cash isn't counterfeited. Easy check. No need to leave a massive paper trail.

When paying by credit card they trust the credit card company who in turn expects the money back from you. That's "convenient" because now you don't have to carry cash -- but exposes you to risk of overspending and such.

But because it "needs" much more customer data to be retained, over and beyond some incontrovertible proof of credit --not identity!-- it also exposes you to lots of risk of defrauding, something the credit card companies have the retailers suck up, who then want to protect themselves any which way. They can't afford to trust you, and by the same token (TJX, Heartland, shockingly many more if you think about it) you can't afford to trust them.

And the reason? The payment system is broken and apparently the only fixes they can come up with is to look at still more data to "detect" fraud somehow. You don't hear about it in a big way but it also causes a lot of false positives and blocked legitimate transactions as a result. And at the end of the day, no matter how good their approaches, they're sloppy handwavy fixes for a fundamentally broken system.

Re:LOL wut? (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 6 months ago | (#45231637)

Just use AdBlock for that. Then they can do GeoIP all they want - I don't see their crap anyway.

Re:LOL wut? (2, Insightful)

tattood (855883) | about 6 months ago | (#45231369)

"But it also raises the question of whether targeting anonymity services to hunt out fraudsters could have chilling effects for harmless Tor users trying to protect their privacy online"

Umm.. the user is ordering something using their name, credit card, and address. They are not going to use Tor to protect their anonymity.

That statement was not about normal people using TOR for online purchases. It was about people using TOR to hide their identity when doing things like posting to a controversial website, or whistleblowing. If this software catches on, and websites start using it to block TOR users, then it would make TOR less useful for posting anonymously.

Re:LOL wut? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 6 months ago | (#45231557)

If this software catches on, and websites start using it to block TOR users, then it would make TOR less useful for posting anonymously.

If people are trying to stay anonymous, yet at the same time they're entering their mailing address into web forms, Tor probably isn't going to do much for them.

Re:LOL wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231809)

Some people have figured out how to use multiple email accounts on the Internets.
Set one up using Tor and never ever visit the account outside of Tor.

Re:LOL wut? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 6 months ago | (#45231575)

it would make TOR less useful for posting anonymously

or it would make controversial websites less popular, and whistleblowers would find some other means

if (when) tor is broken, something else will have already taken over as alternative... its always the way

Re:LOL wut? (2)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 6 months ago | (#45231439)

"But it also raises the question of whether targeting anonymity services to hunt out fraudsters could have chilling effects for harmless Tor users trying to protect their privacy online"

Umm.. the user is ordering something using their name, credit card, and address. They are not going to use Tor to protect their anonymity.

But you certainly have a crowd that likes the idea of tor and has their browser always configured to use it. I don't think that raising the risk level associated with a transaction based on the client using tor is unreasonable. If this were a brick and mortar store, they'd probably be a little bit wary of doing a credit card sale to someone wearing a disguise that covered their face.

Also realize that this would only be one of many sanity checks employed. Is the shipping address to the address listed on the cc for example. The credit card company also checks where the card was used, for things like buying gas at 1pm and then buying it again at 2pm 100 miles away. They also consider the type of merchandise as online purchase of electronics is rife with fraud, but very few people use a stolen card to buy socks.

Re:LOL wut? (4, Funny)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 6 months ago | (#45231501)

"But it also raises the question of whether targeting anonymity services to hunt out fraudsters could have chilling effects for harmless Tor users trying to protect their privacy online"

Umm.. the user is ordering something using their name, credit card, and address. They are not going to use Tor to protect their anonymity.

But you certainly have a crowd that likes the idea of tor and has their browser always configured to use it. I don't think that raising the risk level associated with a transaction based on the client using tor is unreasonable. If this were a brick and mortar store, they'd probably be a little bit wary of doing a credit card sale to someone wearing a disguise that covered their face.

Also realize that this would only be one of many sanity checks employed. Is the shipping address to the address listed on the cc for example. The credit card company also checks where the card was used, for things like buying gas at 1pm and then buying it again at 2pm 100 miles away. They also consider the type of merchandise as online purchase of electronics is rife with fraud, but very few people use a stolen card to buy socks.

Making a credit card purchase online via TOR is like going into a shop to buy something using a credit card WITH A STOCKING OVER YOUR FACE.

Re:LOL wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231817)

Why is not like going to the shop and paying with cash?

So instead of blocking TOR they should offer things like Bitcoin?

Re:LOL wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231969)

Making a credit card purchase online via TOR is like going into a shop to buy something using a credit card WITH A STOCKING OVER YOUR FACE.

No it isn't, stop being overly dramatic. It's similar to giving your friend some cash and asking them to pop into the store for you.

Re:LOL wut? (1)

mlk (18543) | about 6 months ago | (#45231991)

Not if you are using your CC to buy the goods or using your home address to have the goods delivered.

Re:LOL wut? (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 6 months ago | (#45232061)

Making a credit card purchase online via TOR is like going into a shop to buy something using a credit card WITH A STOCKING OVER YOUR FACE.

No it isn't, stop being overly dramatic. It's similar to giving your friend some cash and asking them to pop into the store for you.

Rubbish. If you buy with cash you don't have to give your name and address and, oh yes, credit card number.

If you buy with a credit card that assumes a level of non-anonymity.

If you want to buy with credit card *and* you don't want your identity associated with the credit cards identity and then I assume that something dodgy is going on.

Its like here on slashdot you are posting as anonymous coward; I don't care about that, I have no reason to trust you so you can be anonymous and I don't give a flying FUCK. But if you came to me as an anonymous coward and want to buy something with a credit card then I'm suspicious, I care because it makes a difference to me.

What? Do you think that merchants lose NOTHING if you pay with a stolen credit card?? This is a BIG problem. If I can prevent stolen credit cards being used to pay for my services I will; if I can stop them before they even make a transaction thats a big win.

If turning away customers who use TOR reduces the number of stolen credit cards used to pay for services then thats what will happen.

Re:LOL wut? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 6 months ago | (#45231631)

I agree - no need to hide who you are when you go shopping. But you may want to hide your identity when you are writing something controversial as an AC.

Re:LOL wut? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 6 months ago | (#45232031)

It depends if you trust the shopkeeper. If you do, then there can be a benefit from haing your identity only known to yourself and him. If you don't trust him, then you must presume that as soon as he knows who you are he announces it to the world, and indeed, any secrecy you maintained on the way to the shop was futile.

Believe it or not, it is possible for two parties who trust each other to trade.

Re:LOL wut? (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 6 months ago | (#45232089)

It depends if you trust the shopkeeper. If you do, then there can be a benefit from haing your identity only known to yourself and him. If you don't trust him, then you must presume that as soon as he knows who you are he announces it to the world, and indeed, any secrecy you maintained on the way to the shop was futile.

Believe it or not, it is possible for two parties who trust each other to trade.

If you don't trust the shopkeeper, its not a good idea to use a credit card at all (they can save the details and use them to continue to make transactions on your account).

If the shopkeeper doesn't trust you, its a good idea for them not to accept your credit card (dealing with transactions from stolen credit cards isn't free for the shopkeeper).

If you don't trust the shopkeeper and want to use a credit card anonymously then the shopkeeper now has good reason not to trust you either. So its cash only, please. And don't ask for credit as refusal often offends.

Re:LOL wut? (2)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 6 months ago | (#45232081)

I agree - no need to hide who you are when you go shopping. But you may want to hide your identity when you are writing something controversial as an AC.

Or anonymously use a stolen credit card in an online store.

Re:LOL wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231973)

Umm.. the user is ordering something using their name, credit card, and address. They are not going to use Tor to protect their anonymity.

Well, this is a problem actually. Think about it. Apart from esotheric but valid scenarios where you're traveling or for some weird reason restricted in your network access and having to use some proxy or other or any of a host of other scenarios--because this sort of arbitrary restriction will make it harder for the casual user but the fraudster will have a strong enough incentive to cook up yet another fix to bypass the restriction.

You don't strictly need to give all that information to show you're good for the money as by itself it doesn't say anything except that it is how the system is set up and thus you have to. And the system doesn't really deliver, because it is easy to defraud. And so fraudsters do that a lot. And so retailers are getting sick of having to essentially pony up for the broken credit card system through chargebacks and penalties and so on. And so they look for ways to be more sure that won't happen. And so they end up looking for ever more information that by itself doesn't guarantee anything, but might possibly indicate something maybe, they hope. Hoping they do a lot because the system doesn't actually guarantee them much of anything except costs and chargebacks. And so the legitimate user ends up under much more scrutiny than would be necessary if the system was any good. That gathering of data itself then becomes a liability, see for example the recent experian flap.

Thus, this is the wrong fix and we need a better online payment system. One where you don't have to give enough information to the merchant to expose you to abuse should someone filch that information. Note that credit cards have had these problems for years, but at least offline usually the card is present and that cuts down on the most blatant of abuses. But also note that the system having been broken since it existed is no excuse to forego thinking of better systems.

Re:LOL wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232049)

However, I could well order something while abroad, which would also cause my IP to be far away from home. OTOH, if IP location checking becomes commonplace, the fraudsters will certainly have no problem to find an exit node close to the real address of the victim (whose address they know, after all). Indeed, if they got the data through a trojan running on the victim's computer, they may even use that trojan to place that order from the very same computer the victim uses.

Don't Go On Vacation Then (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 months ago | (#45231217)

So... it's going to see my address is Florida but I'm making an online purchase from Toronto? And disallow it?

That's probably the last time I'd do business with that company.

Re:Don't Go On Vacation Then (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231449)

Or, you have a SSH service in Toronto, live in Florida and is going on holiday with your relatives in Bermuda and want the stuff shipped there. This type of short sighted security is very annoying to millions of expats all over the world.

Re:Don't Go On Vacation Then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231463)

Just use a Florida-based Tor end-node. Problem solved.

Re:Don't Go On Vacation Then (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 6 months ago | (#45231649)

Depends on your source address in Toronto, also on the delivery address. It's more suspicious if you use a TOR node in Toronto than a more normal address.

But it's to some extent also the fault of credit card companies that don't offer the best possible verification and resort to the stupid CVV.

Yes. Wouldn't you? (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 6 months ago | (#45231651)

Blame the criminals. Security, especially effective security is ALWAYS inconvenient. It would be much easier if I come home to simply push open the door but thanks to those who can't keep their hands of other peoples stuff I have first open two locks.

Dutch banks recently started blocking ATM access by default, you have to unlock the card if you want to use it anywhere in the world. It stops east europeans from withdrawing money on your card in their country. Same reason there is withdrawal limit on most cards per day. If it is stolen they can't empty your entire account in one day and hopefully the next day you will have had it blocked.

This is inconvenient but do you really want to use a system that ignores obvious warning flags because losing your money is preferable over losing a sale?

Remember they are protecting you just as much as themselves.

Now your particular example will probably pass if you ordered from them before because the delivery is to your registered adres. But what if someone ordered with your card at your regular webstore but wanted the item shipped to Nigeria with the idea that you might be going on holiday there and wanted the item to arrive there with you? It is feasible, and in court you would lose your money because you made the deal as far as the store could now and you insisted online there be no security.

Re:Yes. Wouldn't you? (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 6 months ago | (#45232085)

Blame the criminals.

Blame the terrorists for the government violating our rights! The government has nothing to do with it; really!

No, I'm not going to blame the bogeymen; I'm going to blame the people who are inconveniencing me, and if I believe their security is unreasonable, I simply won't buy anything from them.

Re:Don't Go On Vacation Then (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 6 months ago | (#45231913)

So... it's going to see my address is Florida but I'm making an online purchase from Toronto? And disallow it?

That's probably the last time I'd do business with that company.

There are services (Netflix comes to mind) that just plain don't allow streaming/downloading/purchasing outside the US or charge a whole lot more depending on where you're buying from. Buying a game online in the EU can cost twice as much as buying the same thing online in the US.

Come on... (4, Insightful)

Mr Krinkle (112489) | about 6 months ago | (#45231221)

". But it also raises the question of whether targeting anonymity services to hunt out fraudsters could have chilling effects for harmless Tor users trying to protect their privacy online—particularly this year in light of the NSA-spying scandal."

Seriously?

Why would you ever need to "protect your privacy" via Tor etc, from an ONLINE SHOPPING SITE that you are GIVING YOUR CREDIT CARD AND SHIPPING INFORMATION TO?

I mean, I'm as much anti NSA crap as the next guy. but come on. That said, cool tech. It would make sense that retailers would do this. I see this is a good thing, not a reason to slam the lizards running our government.

Re:Come on... (0)

Hangtime (19526) | about 6 months ago | (#45231227)

I was thinking the same thing. Kudos sir.

Re:Come on... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231437)

What credit card and shipping info?

- My corp card amex that gets things shipped to a local PO BOX?
- My single use randomly generated number on another card?
- The reshipping address I used to have in another state? (yes, that costs cash...)

Look shithead, just because you work without privacy doesn't mean the rest of the world does. Some of us really can't risk having having extensive profiles built up.

That includes where our connections originate from, our user name, our date of birth, our shipping address, zip codes, and even phone numbers.

Hell, I have three phone numbers all associated with different areas codes -- only one of which correlates with the appropriate zip code.

No, there's no drugs or porno or hitmen going on. Yes, there's still a reason. No, what the reason is is none of your fucking business.

So no, zero kudos are due. GPs observation is shallow and nearly devoid of merit.

Re:Come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231525)

Yep. I know some guy who thought his daughter was a maiden before she Germanicised her name.

Re:Come on... (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 6 months ago | (#45231981)

No, what the reason is is none of your fucking business.

And to be quite honest, it is none of your fucking business if a retailer chooses not to sell to a certain sub-set of customers because they represent a high-risk for fraud.

There are plenty of retailers that choose not to ship to PO boxes, sometimes it's because of the associated risk of fraud, and sometimes it's because they sell chocolate and don't want to ship to a PO box in Phoenix in July. Which one is it in the case of the retailer you're buying from today? You got it... none of your fucking business.

If you want to extend this to those who use Tor, well that again is the retailer's prerogative. There are no laws that say a retailer is obligated to serve customers when those customers can't be identified.

(This is not even going into scenarios where the retailer's CC processor refuses a transaction because of too many red flags.)

Re:Come on... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232137)

And to be quite honest, it is none of your fucking business if a retailer chooses not to sell to a certain sub-set of customers because they represent a high-risk for fraud.

That's exactly the reason I give when them darkies come into my store. Gawd damn civil rights bullsheeeet.

But seriously, I think that excluding customers because they are taking actions to protect their fourth amendment rights of privacy might be grounds for a civil rights action.

You're going to have to find a better way to verify the credit card.

Re:Come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231517)

Congratulaition, you personified slashdot group think.
Fools seldom differ...

Re:Come on... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231281)

The idea when spending stolen credit cards is to ship it to someone else's house, like an abandoned crack den or a little old lady who only checks the mail on Friday. Then they swoop in on a Thursday, take the parcel, and make off with their illicit gains.

You dont understand identity theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231349)

Drop locations my friend.

You have a lot of learning to do.

Re:You dont understand identity theft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231479)

perhaps off topic, but many people enjoy giving gifts anonymously; secret santa stuff....
I personally know a half-a-dozen very well-intentioned, kind people who like to help others without seeking any benefits or congratulation. They prefer to remain anonymous, very UNLIKE the wikipedia list of "philanthropists", many of whom are actually uber-criminals, laundering money and evading taxes via their "generous giving".

One day I got a card on valentine day with no name....... it remains with me to this day

all this metadata filtering and databasing is DEBASING many good folk, and these uber-criminal organisations (i.e. AMDOCS, AKAMAI) should take a break from their shenanigans juST LONG ENOUGH TO GRANT INDEPENDANCE TO PALESTINA, FORM A PEACEFUL CO=PROSPERITY SPHERE IN THE MIDDLE-EAST, and allow most countries of the planet to throw off the yoke of the international debtmongers and warmongers.

Re:You dont understand identity theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232039)

Wow, that went from "you kinda have a point" to "batshit crazy" in 3 sentences.

Flat earth view of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231433)

The annoying thing with this retarded kind of alert system is world citizens like me who have credit cards from one country, mostly live in another country and want things shipped to a third country, because I have assets in 4 countries. And if you were wondering, there are many, many millions of people is this situation.

Re:Flat earth view of the world (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231753)

The annoying thing with this retarded kind of alert system is world citizens like me who have credit cards from one country, mostly live in another country and want things shipped to a third country, because I have assets in 4 countries. And if you were wondering, there are many, many millions of people is this situation.

Yes but the rest of them have the virtue of not bitching about it.

Re:Come on... (2)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 6 months ago | (#45231443)

Because cracking the onion has to be harder than https?

I'm sure buying piles of fertilizer would set off alarms, but what if I want a variety of inflatable barnyard friends, rubber sheets, that 55 gallon drum of lube, and a celebrity masturbator(male)? I don't want to get that dossier started.

Are you an actual moron? (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 6 months ago | (#45231705)

The parent wrote it down for you. You are placing an order with your credit card and shipping address. What MORE could they possible need in your "dossier"? Or do you think a webstores order database is magically of limits? Or that the NSA is only snooping on your internet connection and not the webstore?

If you don't want people to know your weird hobby, don't pay it online with your registered credit card and home address. The moment you do, privacy doesn't exist anymore.

And you do deserve being called a MORON because clearly you have no clue about security and/or TOR and/or anonimity.

Remember the Silk Road story? How was he caught? By sleuthing, by connection anonymous messages together through identifiers.

You want to use TOR to place an order, a MESSAGE, with in that message your CREDIT CARD and HOME ADDRESS? Why not also include that amazingly funny nick you thought of that you also use in all your "lets blow up the government" posts and make their job extra easy?

This stuff should really be obvious, if you use an anonymous message service, don't include personal identifiers. The general advice is to avoid any mention of GENDER, TIMEZONE, use of slang, catchphrases etc etc. And you think it is a good idea to include your fucking HOME ADDRESS and credit card details.

Tor has one use, to hide your IP, and you just gave them your address instead. If you don't get the stupidity of your idea, you really just shouldn't bother with TOR, you are just going to screw up anyway.

You are not alone in this, the other responder below also just doesn't get it. What does your IP have to do with your credit card? Both are registered to the same person?

Security, it is a LOT harder then people think.

Re:Are you an actual moron? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232083)

digital content + pre-loaded debit = me not needing to give MY credit card nor MY address.

Now, when it comes to a physical object, Im not sure how one can remain truly anonymous. But you still have plausible deniability if using Tor + pre-loaded debit. This might be important for such purposes as divorce court in case the wife finds those tickets you purchased for you and the mistress to go to maui.

Re:Come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231737)

Furries do all that and worse. There hasn't been a government crackdown on furries even though the rest of the internet wishes it would happen. You've got nothing to worry about.

Re:Come on... (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 6 months ago | (#45231765)

Come to think of it we have technological progress in almost any branch of human activity yet the inflatables are still inflatables. I think it is the time that scientists. engineers and geeks spend some time on those so that they can become an actual subject of passion not an object of a (usually drunk) male student stunt. There seems to be a genuine need [bbc.co.uk] . I mean anime is OK but one would like to fetch a real stuff but without all these flowers, courtship and other nonsense that otherwise emancipated ladies require (after they verified your financial status of course). I mean seriously: the use of steam machines and electricity to fight female hysteria [wikipedia.org] back at the beginning of last century (and following development of less hassle vibrators that ladies of today can use) shows that society in general but inventors too care very much for needs of a lonely female. What about a lonely geek in his mama's cellar?

Re:Come on... (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about 6 months ago | (#45231567)

You really didn't think this one through, did you...

What do credit card and shipping information have to do with your IP address?

Perhaps you do other, legitimate things with your IP address that you'd like to keep dissociated from that very information.

Re:Come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231915)

Because the store HAS NO RIGHT to know where you are. Not at your friends house, your work, your school, the coffee shop, the park downtown, or in your mom's basement buying another jar of vaseline.
And because all those places AND their ISP's HAVE NO RIGHT to know what sites you are visiting.

Re:Come on... (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 6 months ago | (#45231927)

". But it also raises the question of whether targeting anonymity services to hunt out fraudsters could have chilling effects for harmless Tor users trying to protect their privacy online—particularly this year in light of the NSA-spying scandal."

Seriously?

Why would you ever need to "protect your privacy" via Tor etc, from an ONLINE SHOPPING SITE that you are GIVING YOUR CREDIT CARD AND SHIPPING INFORMATION TO?

I mean, I'm as much anti NSA crap as the next guy. but come on. That said, cool tech. It would make sense that retailers would do this. I see this is a good thing, not a reason to slam the lizards running our government.

Today it's the credit card transactions, then it's the cash transactions, then it's the bitcoin transactions. It's a step against privacy regardless.

Re:Come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231995)

Who said you were giving your shipping information? I'm buying an e-book about successful gay people because Im a 14 year old LGBT living in the rust belt, and want to have some hope that I can grow up and have a happy life. If my Mom finds out I have anything to do with LGBT and she's been drinking....

I bought the ebook with a pre-paid debit card, and used Tor to make sure my parents dont find out.

NOTE: this was entirely hypothetical. Im neither 14, nor LGBT, nor would my mom care if I was. Please start thinking of the bigger world view. Privacy is VERY important to some people, for perfectly good and legal reasons. Just because YOU dont have to be private, doesn't mean everyone has the same luxury.

Re:Come on... (2)

fatphil (181876) | about 6 months ago | (#45232065)

Bollocks.

I travel for work. There's precisely *no* reason why an online retailer should expect to have the right to know the locations of my clients. They can know my home address whither things should be delivered, but their need to know anything else about location ends right there.

Open wifi routers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231223)

So thieves will quickly find an open wifi router near the delivery point, and normal people who happen to be using Tor or a VPN will run into problems. But at least this company has a product to sell that PHBs won't be able to think of any problem with.

vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (3, Informative)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#45231233)

I was trying to buy something from an online merchant. I happened to have been using my vpn at the time but I paid using my paypal account and the merchant accepted my order.

an hour later they canceled it. gave no reason. I emailed them and they asked 'are you on vacation?'. no. they still canceled it.

this has happened more than once.

its annoying as hell. the world is slowly becoming vpn-unfriendly.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231279)

This is extremely old. Pretty much every CC processor does a location lookup on the IP. If it's not within a certain distance of the card address, it brings the risk number up. Too high, and they deny it. Your fault really for using VPN anyways when it's shipping to your home with your name attached. Zero anonymity there genius.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231587)

Probably using a work VPN and forgot to disconnect.

He may also not trust the network he is on (think about it, we travel, vacation, etc).

I always use my SSH server to protect myself from untrusted networks. While SSL/TLS is already doing that not everything I do has it (partly my own fault). Anyway. SSH protects mein those situations and when I set it up it is annoying to disconnect or easy to forget. Usually I would just forget. It's not hard to use a different browser. Even that though won't fix the problem because if I'm in Boston and shipping to NJ and the filters are in excess.... but I think usually it isn't a problem due to the fact the address being shipped to is the billing so it would go through anyway.

Long story short if the transaction is minor ($50) and the margins are high (I'm talking 4x or more our cost for something) we ship anyway. If it's low margin high ticket items (things fraudsters go after, and consumers notice on the bill) we kill the deal. It's a big risk and more often than not it is fraud. We have even talked to the fraudsters. Now we do get legit orders. There are ways to tell from our orders usually when a customer is shipping to a different address than the billing that it is probably legit. In some instances we will let the order slip (even high margin). However most merchants don't have the luxury of being able to test based on a particular niche question that your typical fraudsters wouldn't know the answer to. Some of our customers don't either, but its a red flag if that gets combined with IP geo-location differences, billing/shipping differences, and more. One thing fraudsters always do is get overnight shipping. Insanely expensive and very infrequently done except for business purchases. Those get sent to business addresses though and we usually get a phone call anyway about it in advance because the customer has questions. You don't see that from most fraudsters. However you never want to assume because a customer has called that it is legitimate either.

Basically- use your head and you won't get f'd. In 5 years we have only lost one high ticket item. We shipped one other out too once but managed to pull it back. There were no signs at first of fraud. Then we realized he logged in from systems all over the place. So he was very careful at first and then not-at-all careful once it shipped.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231835)

No, chances are the VPN the OP is referring to is one of those out of the country bittorrent anonymizing services. An out of the country IP will immediately set off a red flag. If the IPs from that block the VPN service is using has been associated with fraudulent activity in the past it could get flagged as well.

For 99% of legitimate home/business VPN use there will be no problem as the IP geolocates to a sane location. Paid VPN services, it won't.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 6 months ago | (#45231615)

What about purely online services? I haven't encountered this yet, and I'm sort of surprised. I'm using a public wifi outside of my home country, and that triggers me using my private VPN times two. I have a VPS I mess around with, set up VPN on it. I've used it to access things like Netflix, which isn't available in my current country, get the 'correct' steam pricing, etc... If anybody really wanted to they could track me down from that IP address, but it'd probably require a warrant.

But my VPS isn't even in the same time zone as my home, and I've recently changed addresses along with the move.

I guess that if anybody asks I might not respond with 'no' to whether I'm on vacation, but with 'close, I'm on a business trip'.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 months ago | (#45231855)

I'm in China getting things delivered to my U.S. address either to pick up the next time I'm home or to have drop-shipped to me here. Lots of places refuse to ship internationally or are idiots about it. Try ordering online from a Chinese IP address and let me know how that works out for you.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231315)

I have had numerous problems while doing ecommerce transactions on VPNs due to this type of correlation. My VPN software allows for numerous exit nodes, so I select an exit node close to home to ensure a transaction goes through.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231411)

I've experienced exactly this. I'll even name names. NewEgg not only canceled my order but locked out my account when I placed an order while using an overseas VPN.

I've also experienced the exact opposite of this. A few years ago when I was overseas in a third world country, the only way I was able to log in to my bank's webpage without instantly having my account locked was to use a U.S. based VPN.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231457)

if newegg and other stores keep having orders blocked due to vpn use maybe they will place a notice about vpn use.

newegg does not ship internationally anyway, why would they bother having a globally accessible website (unless they like ddos)

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231561)

I was on vacation in Mexico a few years back during the Steam Holiday sale and I couldn't SAVE SO MUCH MONEY unless I used a U.S.-based VPN. Why not just check if my card's info or my last gazillion communications to Valve's servers indicated that I was a U.S. user?

I did end up saving all that money though. :D

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 6 months ago | (#45231511)

vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic

That's one of the main reasons I use a VPN. Since I have to give the merchant my shipping address and name I don't want them selling that info to the profilers like BlueKai or DoubleClick in conjunction with my real IP address because any traffic that leaks out via my real IP address would then be easy to cross-reference.

If a merchant is going to require that I give up the privacy of my internet usage just to do business with them, I will just spend my money elsewhere.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231701)

If someone stole your CC info and successfully made a bunch of fraudulent purchases online, you'd be here on Slashdot whining that the merchants should have implemented a system to flag suspicious transactions.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (1)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about 6 months ago | (#45231833)

This stuff drives me insane too.

I live off-grid. I'm reasonably mobile and don't have an address. Any address, nor does any of my family... To complicate things my internet is via a satellite link that at times can terminate half a continent away.

Places like Amazon and Ebay don't present any trouble at all... But any smaller or more specialised businesses is like playing russian roulette. Worse, every so often I encounter a jobsworth who doesnt seem to have anything better to do with his week then cause me as much hassle as he can creatively manage.
So I find myself having to learn to think and behave like a fraudster. So I can spend my own money without having to deal with all that drama.

Re:vpn use triggers the 'cancel the order' logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232125)

I'm reasonably mobile and don't have an address.

I'm sure that gives interesting problems when filing taxes ...

What's the problem? (3, Interesting)

FireballX301 (766274) | about 6 months ago | (#45231257)

If you use your card online, you're telling the retailer who you are and where you generally are, and having them do their homework is nothing but a good thing. Making people go through more verification steps if red flags are thrown is nothing but a good thing. If you use Tor and then buy something with a personal credit card or debit card, you're doing it wrong.

If you want to stay anonymous, load a pre-paid debit card and jump through the anti fraud hoops. Nobody said staying off the grid was going to be easy.

Re:What's the problem? (2)

marxzed (1075971) | about 6 months ago | (#45231283)

or your trying to buy something your own, possibly less than enlightened, government doesn't want you to buy... you know like a banned book or DVD . you know stuff like that.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

FireballX301 (766274) | about 6 months ago | (#45231291)

Sure, in which case you would have to be an idiot to use a personal card. Load a throwaway debit card or buy and use BTC. Anonymizing services do not help if you declare your identity at the other end

Re:What's the problem? (1)

marxzed (1075971) | about 6 months ago | (#45231321)

not really the card details are often at the "land of the free" end rather than their homeland, from students I talk to from these countries, the credit card is set up with a relative some where in the US/Europe/Australia, so often it's a credit card in the UK or Australia buying goods in the US to go where the student is at home with his computer - somewhere like Burma etc.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 6 months ago | (#45231523)

If you use Tor and then buy something with a personal credit card or debit card, you're doing it wrong.

Bullshit.

Nowadays every little fucking detail that a merchant can glean from you goes into multiple databases that you have zero control over. It is preposterous that I should have to risk giving up my name and address to every website I've browsed from the same IP address that I placed an order from.

Until merchants are legally prevented from sharing your personal information with whoever the fuck they want, it is morally reprehensible for them to expect customers to not take measures to protect their privacy.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 6 months ago | (#45231595)

No it's not. It's not ever the retailer's job to verify credit cards are valid. That's the job of the credit card company and surprise surprise that already happens. Not only does shopping online present me with a 2 factor authentication option (mobile SMS or in my bank's case an RSA token), but any out of the normal purchases still get flagged for followup, like the other day I entirely legitimately ordered a computer via paypal from Israel. Got a call from the bank about 15min later asking if the transaction was valid. I ask them if the flag was the country and they said yes, but also stated that it would have been flagged anyway since I've never spent more than $100 on paypal before so this spend was out of the ordinary.

The only point of this is to enforce geo-caching.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231957)

Retailers get penalized for chargebacks. Period. The credit card companies are not their friends and are more than willing to let them eat the cost of a fraudulent charge as often as they can can get away with it. If the retailers on their own initiative can stop fraud before the card gets charged it reduces their risk of getting stuck with the loss later.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | about 6 months ago | (#45232107)

You are so wrong it's not even funny. The retailer is almost always held responsible for any fraud. If a charge is determined to be fraudulent the retailer is out the money plus a chargeback fee and on top of that, the event is kept track of so if the overall total gets too high, the merchant account gets terminated.

Is that really going to work? (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 6 months ago | (#45231271)

Um.. last time I checked, exit nodes are not a stable thing. They come and go. Kind of hard to block/detect a moving target, I'd think.

Re:Is that really going to work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231521)

Well, the "fraud hunters" sure as heck missed the likes(ilk) of Meyer Lansky, Bernie Madoff, Leonid Nevzlin, Jeffery Epstein, Guy Rosen, "E"-lie Gelman, et al, et horribilis, to name a few...

it juST BOGGLES THE MIND TO THINK THAT SOME OF THOSE LISTED ABOVE HAVE THEIR PAWS IN THE I.T. "security" sector!

Re:Is that really going to work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231935)

It's actually pretty easy since the Tor Project maintains a list of active exit nodes:
https://check.torproject.org/cgi-bin/TorBulkExitList.py

Re:Is that really going to work? (1)

gmack (197796) | about 6 months ago | (#45232127)

Thankfully tor exports a handy list of exit nodes [blutmagie.de] . This list is also kept in other places and it came in handy a few months back when someone used tor to flood my ssh server with a massive amount of ssh logins. You can even find some scripts that parse the list and turn it into an iptables ruleset.

WTB 99x potions, deliver behind starbucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231295)

Go to starbucks, use tor, ask to deliver behind starbucks. Seems legit.

Not about catching fraudsters on Tor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231423)

It's all about regionization and the merchants wanting the ability to charge what the market wil bear. They don't want people from Australia or Canada or New Zealand paying the same price as people from the US. Or maybe it's all about the credit card companies wanting to charge more interest to you than those people over there. Ummm, I think I'll wander off and polish my tinfoil hat now.

Re:Not about catching fraudsters on Tor (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 6 months ago | (#45231527)

Not really, they use the shipping address to detect foreign purchases. (and more and more online retailers are detecting and blocking the use of re-shippers)

Question. A quick acid test for fake websites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231425)

For example, look at this address (http://www.niytkic.com/) for Louboutin shoes which was advertised to me on Facebook. The advert kept changing that niytkic bit but always redirected to the same main website, and this made me really suspicious! I also changed its http to https but Firefox said their SSL certificate was no good or self-signed just like this new site I found: http://www.77sell.co.uk. Despite having a .co.uk the latter address doesn't have a physical address in the UK but sells to UK customers! Surely that's a red flag?

This approach assumes a landlink (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231451)

I am on 10mbit sattellite in a rural area of Canada. Four times per day my downlink changes: Early morning it is New Jersey, by evening it is one of 3 places in California. I use ABP, but when I disable it for certain site (like this one, but except for this one) I get barraged by ads of/from women who live only 4-6 miles away (nevermind that we use the METRIC system in Canada, and that the nearest civilisation, building, payphone etc is 48km away).

This tech, if adopted globally, would cripple my online purchasing. Keep in mind that there are more ppl using sat internet than you imagine.

Moving along:

This is BS. These folks should pull their heads out of their behinds, stop scamming VCs and go to school and learn how the internet works. Then try to implement a similar solution on the unobscured internet and cut their teeth on it, before printing business cards and selling their -if-they-use-tor-they-are-criminals-and-for-a-lot-of-money-we-will-pretend-to-help-you-cut-down-on-fraud- solution to ppl/companies that are tech illiterate.

I liken ppl who are tor users to ppl who cup their hand over the pinpad at the grocery store while they punch in their pin, and one should not assume that a tor user has something to hide.

BTW, I have never used TOR, but I totally agree with the need for it.

ChaOS

Only works for basement dwellers (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 months ago | (#45231471)

Tor is a simple way to protect yourself from the bloke running Kismet and Ettercap behind you in an airport coffee shop. Geeks who design this kind of crappy 'security' systems should get out of their mom's basements more.

IP doesn't really mean anything geographically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45231473)

So what if I don't hide it, but my IP shows Norway, USA, or wherever the hell else the oil rig's satellite link comes out at, and I live in Canada, I can't buy stuff online? Out there for weeks, can't always "just wait until I get home".

Good (2)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 6 months ago | (#45231487)

I can't seem to find anything in the article that says they're automatically blocking all orders from Tor users. It's just one tool. If they're using it like most spam filters, then it's like saying they're detecting emails with the word "Viagra." It doesn't mean it's being blocked, it means it's a red flag that should signal further scrutiny, and presumably if there are many redflags than it would warrant more detailed scrutiny by a human. Frankly, having an online retailer assess the risk of each order to determine if further scrutiny is warranted seems like a GOOD thing, but in the summary's myopia all it's seeing is the spin that this is anti-Tor and therefore evil.

All that said, why would anybody think that using Tor when placing an online order with a credit card would protect them from NSA spying? The retailer obviously knows who are because you're giving them all your credit card info, and if you think it's to protect you from the NSA knowing what you're ordering, all you're doing is redflagging yourself by going through Tor, and I'm sure they're more likely to get your purchase info from Visa or your bank than from off the wire.

You want my money, right? (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#45231641)

Oh, you don't? Well, ok, nice not doing business with you.

NEXT!

Re:You want my money, right? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232135)

Yeah, I'm sure losing the huge militant TOR shopping market is going to cause retailers far more trouble than protecting the other 99.999% of their users from cc theft ;)

IPv6 tunnels (3, Informative)

alanw (1822) | about 6 months ago | (#45231665)

I've been getting up to speed on IPv6 and have a tunnel from he.net [he.net] (tunnelbroker.net [tunnelbroker.net] ). It seems to pop out somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic, judging from geographically targeted advertising. Several big sites are already IPv6 enabled (Firefox plugin SixOrNot [entropy.me.uk] ), e.g. Facebook, Google, Youtube.

Geo-fencing, nothing more. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 6 months ago | (#45231681)

Ever ask yourself why the merchant would spend money on this? I mean there's no risk to the merchant. If stuff is bought with a stolen credit card then the credit card company or the bank bears the risk. Not to mention the amount of security already in the credit card system. For instance my bank requires 2-factor authentication for any online order over $50. The Verified by VISA window pops up and asks for my RSA token, or optionally an number that gets SMS'd to my mobile if I don't have the token on me. On top of that orders that are verified by VISA still go through the standard fraud identification process, i.e. they look at purchasing patterns and then flag anything out of the norm such as a country you don't normally do business in or a merchant you don't normally spend that amount with.

So if the merchant bares no risk then the question remains why would they do it? Oh that's right geo-fencing. It would be screwing the company out of their not at all hard earned dollars if I were able to buy something from the USA rather than pay the extortionate prices locally.

Re:Geo-fencing, nothing more. (2)

hankwang (413283) | about 6 months ago | (#45231787)

"If stuff is bought with a stolen credit card then the credit card company or the bank bears the risk."

I highly doubt that; the thief could have a friend set up an online merchant, make $2000 purchases of virtual goods and split the profit.

The reason merchants are so careful is that the merchants will have to eat the loss in case of a fraudulent transaction.

Re:Geo-fencing, nothing more. (1)

kinko (82040) | about 6 months ago | (#45232123)

Ever ask yourself why the merchant would spend money on this? I mean there's no risk to the merchant. If stuff is bought with a stolen credit card then the credit card company or the bank bears the risk.

No, it's the merchant who bears all the risk. If someone disputes a charge, the merchant's acquiring bank writes a friendly letter asking for proof of the card-holder's authorization, eg a signed receipt. If you can't offer evidence that it was authorized, then you get a chargeback (ie they deduct the purchase amount from your account) and you are out of the value of whatever you mailed out to the customer.

When we sold stuff online, obviously we don't get physical signatures, but normally we could convince the customer that they had made the purchase (normally they forgot, or didn't recognise our name on their credit card bill) and the customer cancelled the dispute.

Why would the bank voluntarily eat the loss for fraud/disputes? :)

It isn't so black & white (1)

AlienSexist (686923) | about 6 months ago | (#45231943)

I've seen these techniques in production merchant systems and really it is just another point of data by which businesses can scrutinize orders for risk. What truly is amazing is how many different data facets are available to merchants to compose their rules for fraud risk tolerance. I have not yet personally observed a merchant having a rule that rejected orders solely based upon proxy, VPN, or Tor detection. Some legitimate merchants, in fact, cater to a highly paranoid demographic where a significant number of their customers do this (like doomsday preppers).

Now if a shopper is using some sort of IP concealment, is using a credit card issued by a bank known for lax consumer validation, the card has been used 20 times across 8 other merchants in the past 3 hours, and the shopper is using a disposable email address then they may be declined. I've once seen a rule based upon if the individual has been evicted from a property, having had any judgements against them, or have had any felonies.

Coincidentally, I saw a press release from a solutions provider announcing having been awarded a patent for their technique of penetrating a proxy's concealment to establish the user's true origin. I know how much /.ers love patents. Sure this all sounds terrifying as a consumer. As an online merchant it is an invaluable tool to help prevent being robbed out of business. Now that LexisNexis [usatoday.com] was hacked and Experian [usatoday.com] sold SSNs data to thieves... expect new waves of crime.

Anonymous Proxy and Tor Detection (1)

tgotchi (170289) | about 6 months ago | (#45231963)

I think it is not something new to screen online frauds behind Tor IPs. I'm using a free FraudLabs Pro [fraudlabspro.com] screening service which already has the IPs detected as proxy. It surely reduced the number of frauds in online business.

Asking for problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232099)

Its updated DOTS IP Address Validation product identifies 'suspicious' discrepancies between the user's home location and the location of the IP address the order's coming from.

If it uses city based geolocation, then that isn't accurate, unless you also happen to live in the same city as your ISP, or have a dedicated IP block allocated for your city. Unlikely if you live in the UK.

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