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Sunday, January 23, 2005

From plagiarism to credit-card fraud?

Update (May 27, 2005): I'm replacing the protagonist's name in this story with [bleep]. He's moved on, and I don't see why his past should haunt him forever.

[Final update: This matter is resolved. Please read [Bleep's] apology.]

[Important: Please also read "A clarification" before you read this post. Thank you]

I thought, when I first outed [Bleep's] plagiarism ("Plagiarism in the Indian blogosphere"), that it was just a case of intellectual theft. But it is now turning out to be far more than that. Once a bunch of us blogged about him, a few of our readers in the blogosphere started doing their own research into this chap, and they uncovered that plagiarism was the tip of the iceberg. So what more is he up to, you ask? Well, go to a site that he owns called nsSwitch.

This is supposedly a domain-name registrar. Well, search for any domain you'd like to have. will do, or, or Being an Instapundit fan, I figured it would be nice to own his domain, and searched for I was told it was available, and I could reserve it if I wanted. (The site will be taken down sooner or later, so here's my screen-grab of the page I got.) I clicked along, and duly reached the page where they asked me for my credit-card details.

Now, you will ask, isn't this a stupid thing to do? Any customer who tries this will soon realise he's been defrauded, and will complain immediately. Well, I'm sure it does not work that way. I bet that after you have submitted your credit card information, you'll get some sort of message saying that your transaction has not been processed because of some error, and you will not be charged. You will forget about it. He will have your credit card details. I can't imagine what he would do with them apart from hawking them, as this gentleman did, and this one.

We have complained to Icann and Internic about the domain-name registry fraud; we have complained to his hosting company (probably these guys), as well, about the credit-card fraud; Blogger has been informed about the plagiarism. But this is clearly a criminal offence now, and the US authorities need to be informed. And most of us, the bloggers on this case, are sitting here in India. So if you are reading this in the US, and this guy's sites are still up and his scams still running, can you help us get this guy to justice?

A gentleman named Kumaraguru pointed the way to the credit-card fraud by commenting at another blog post, here. He had uncovered other details about [Bleep] as well, writing:
[Kumaraguru and I have decided to remove these comments as, after [Bleep's] apology, they no longer seem pertinent.]

Great work, Kumaraguru.

Other bloggers pitch in
How to be the next Instapundit by Ravages
Wrong about plagiarism by Ravikiran Rao

Update: Kumaraguru emails with more. He writes (edited for linking purposes):
[Kumaraguru and I have decided to remove these comments as, after [Bleep's] apology, they no longer seem pertinent.]

Latest update: [Bleep's] explanation.
amit varma, 2:10 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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