October 24th, 2008

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Doodad Pro et al.: here's what's going on

People have found out by experimentation that
  • If you go to the McCain/Palin web site and contribute by credit card, it goes through address verification (AVS), which detects various types of fraudulent transactions.
  • If you go to the Obama/Biden web site and contribute by credit card, it does not go through address verification, so you can associate any name and address you want to the donation.
(Sources: The Next Right, Power Line. The former reports on doing the experiment himself, and the latter reports that several people have written in saying that they had also done so  You will also recall the case of Ms. Mary T. Biskop, whose name was attached to $174K of donations to the Obama campaign--done with someone else's credit card(s?).)

So... I couldn't resist; $1 wouldn't help the Obamessiah much. I just made a donation in the name of Bertrand Russell, address: The Cold, Cold Ground, London TX, zip code 31415, phone 800-555-1212, email address notelementsofthemselves@yahoo.com, employer TheoryofDescriptions, Ltd., job philosopher. It went through without complaint, once I filled in the employer and job fields.

(Why Bertrand Russell? It seemed appropriate given all the fallen heroes The One said he saw in the audience at a Memorial Day event.)

One of the companies that make it possible for web sites to do credit card transactions (they're called "credit card gateways") is authorize.net. They have over 212,000 customers; their web page is the first that turns up on Google for "credit card gateway". They turn on AVS by default and recommend that merchants use it. (The title on that web page: "Standard Transaction Security Settings.") A web site using their services would have to explicitly turn AVS off.

So... what credit card gateway is the Obama campaign using? Did they knowingly turn off AVS, and if so, why? Doing so is asking for the sort of fraud reported. (Well, most of it; there's still that Kansas City woman whose credit card was charged for a donation to Obama without her knowledge.)

P.S. In fact, part of Savannah, Georgia has zip code 31415. Oops. Pi is 3.1415926535...; I truncated instead of rounding.

P.P.S. Hey! Maybe it's a plot to get lots of bloggers to try it out!

UPDATE: Good summary at Ace of Spades. There are varying claims about whether the Obama campaign has turned the valididty checking back on. All I can say is, AVS wasn't on when I tried it, and I was not asked for the three-digit number on the back of my card.

  • Current Mood
    curious curious
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An article on Obama and fundraising fraud

"[Obama] may now be running the biggest underground finance operation since Nixon deployed the plumbers as his underground operatives in 1972."

I'll respectfully disagree with part: "This Clinton-Democratic model of campaign spending triggered a new wave of public backlash against money in politics." No, it didn't. That wave was a sham, a massive scam run by the Pew Charitable Trusts and other left-leaning foundations.

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    nauseated nauseated