Visa pressures banks into closing spammers’ accounts

When computer science professor Stefan Savage and his team of researchers unveiled their analysis of the spam monetization model last year, they described 15 steps required for it to work.

They also pointed out that the only step that cannot be recreated easily if suspended is the point of transaction.

At the time, they discovered that 95 percent of the transactions that they initiated by buying obviously counterfeit products were processed by three banks located in Denmark, Azerbaijan, and the West Indies, and posited that the spam monetization model could easily be disrupted if those banks were made to close down the accounts used by the spammers.

Fast forward to the present and the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition and Visa are working on doing just that.

The coalition – the go-to organization for reporting the sale of counterfeit goods on the Internet – investigates the complaints. If it finds that they are correct, it contacts Visa, which is then relied upon to contact the banks where the accounts used by the spammers were opened.

Visa threatens the banks – although it is not defined exactly with what – and forces them to shut down the account in question. According to iTnews, the card issuer has been quite successful in its efforts.

“Banking resources are drying up left and right,” commented Savage. “Merchant banks just roll over.”