To Prove A Point, Microsoft Creates A Bank For A Day

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 12, 2010
Updated • Jul 12, 2010

How do you know if an online business is legit or a scam? Many Internet users share their personal information online even though they should not be doing so, at least not on websites that should not be trusted. Information can be used against the user, especially if they happen to enter social security numbers, addresses, credit card numbers and other highly sensitive information.

Microsoft brought that online experience to the real world, by recreating two online scams in Manhattan. The first scam was a fake bank, called the Greater Offshore, that saw dozens of customers walk in on its first day of business. These customers gladly shared personal information including credit card numbers, SSNs, ATM pin numbers and samples for DNA tests with the (fake) bank clerk.

The second fake store was an inheritance store, created after the infamous Nigerian online scam which tries to lure people into the trap by making them believe they could get a lot of money easily by parting with just a bit.

Again New Yorkers parted willingly with their personal information. In the end, they were told that the store was created to prove a point, to avoid sharing information online with websites and services that are not trustworthy.

Web browsers, like Internet Explorer which was advertised in the end, aid Internet users by automatically blocking known threats and displaying warning messages.

But Internet browsers and other security software can only help in specific situations, the most powerful defense against online threats is, common sense.

Then again, who would have thought that Microsoft would have created a bank for a day?


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  1. James Bigglesworth said on July 28, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Way to go. Put up a fake business in a high street, where it is EXPECTED to be a genuine bank/store to teach people about ONLINE FRAUD.

    Absolute Total Stupidity.

    The general public do not come close to associating THE HIGH STREET with anything ON THE INTERNET.

    Microsoft, take a bow; Idiots.

  2. St0n3D said on July 12, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Its should be ‘To Prove A Point’ not ‘To Proof A Point’. You may want to correct that.

    1. Martin said on July 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

      You are right, corrected.

      1. EllisGL said on July 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm

        Also “created to proof a point” in the article itself.

      2. Martin said on July 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm

        Thanks, edited.

  3. Jojo said on July 12, 2010 at 9:36 am

    That’s great ! I’m surprised they only got a relatively little information though. For $500, I would have given them a slew of fake info…. :)

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