Thursday, October 23, 2008 Open To Online Fraud Say Observers

The "One's" web page for accepting online contributions has set its security and verification to the bare minimum for online fraud prevention according to those who have surveyed the campaign web site. Several bloggers like Patrick Ruffini note that small-dollar online contributions they have made to the B.O. campaign have gone through without the most cursory effort being made to verify something as simple as the donor's address.

Banks and credit card companys routinely use a feature called AVS (Address Verification Service) to filter out fake transactions and guard against credit card fraud. With AVS credit card processors are able the match a given credit card number with the address listed for the account holder to determine if the transaction is valid and authorized. What would turning off this most basic security feature buy the "One"? Well, there wouldn't be any safeguard against accepting multiple overseas contributions for starters and since individual contributions of less than $200 need not be publicly reported, a person could make multiple small contributions to the campaign over and above the $2,300 maximum allowed by the federal government.

The largesse of such legendary online Obama supporters like "Doodad Pro" of Nunda, NY and "Good Will" of Austin, TX even caught the attention of Michael Isikoff of Newsweek.

Consider the cases of Obama donors "Doodad Pro" of Nunda, N.Y., who gave $17,130, and "Good Will" of Austin, Texas, who gave more than $11,000—both in excess of the $2,300-per-person federal limit. In two recent letters to the Obama campaign, Federal Election Commission auditors flagged those (and other) donors and informed the campaign that the sums had to be returned. Neither name had ever been publicly reported because both individuals made online donations in $10 and $25 increments. "Good Will" listed his employer as "Loving" and his occupation as "You," while supplying as his address 1015 Norwood Park Boulevard, which is shared by the Austin nonprofit Goodwill Industries. Suzanha Burmeister, marketing director for Goodwill, said the group had "no clue" who the donor was.

"Doodad Pro" listed no occupation or employer; the contributor's listed address is shared by Lloyd and Lynn's Liquor Store in Nunda. "I have never heard of such an individual," says Diane Beardsley, who works at the store and is the mother of one of the owners. "Nobody at this store has that much money to contribute." (She added that a Doodad's Boutique, located next door, had closed a year ago, before the donations were made.)

(In a similar case earlier this year, the campaign returned $33,000 to two Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip who had bought T shirts in bulk from the campaign's online store. They had listed their address as "Ga.," which the campaign took to mean Georgia rather than Gaza.)

This summer, watchdog groups asked both campaigns to share more information about its small donors. The McCain campaign agreed; the Obama campaign did not.

I'm shocked! -- Shocked that the campaign of the post-partisan one declined an opportunity to provide more transparency in their fund-raising methods!

Regarding's failure to activate AVS Ruffini writes, The ability to contribute with a false address, when the technology to prevent it not only exists but comes standard, is a green light for fraud......By turning this basic setting off, the Obama campaign invited this kind of fraud and has taken no steps to correct it.

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