Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Anatomy of an Internet scam

My wife and I purchased new living room furniture (couch, chairs, etc) and we figured that Craigslist would be a good spot to try to sell the older stuff.  (By the way, it's still available if you're interested)
However, this turned out to be an academic exercise for me in how Internet scams work.  I truly enjoy such games, since I am an Internet security professional and pretty much don't buy into any BS that many of these jack-holes attempt to sell.  So, in the interest of educating as many people as I can, I'm going to post it here and link it to my Facebook so that hopefully my friends, family, and anyone else who happens to pass along my little corner of the Internet, doesn't fall for the same crap.

By the way, I'm still in the middle of this scam, stringing them along as best I can while also insulting their intelligence regularly.

So, here's how it started:

I posted the listing on Craigslist (which you can view here:  http://kalamazoo.craigslist.org/fuo/2512440857.html ).  Shortly thereafter I received the following inquiry from Fawn Adams [fadams045@gmail.com]:
Hello, confirm to me if its still available for sale and in good condition. I will be available for pick up

Regards
Fawn
To which I responded "Yes, it is.  Contact me if you want more information".

"Fawn's" (although from a different address this time, [puttedangel802@gmail.com] which is yet another clue that it's a scam)response was a bit more enlightening this time:

Thank for your mail. Am satisfied with your advert price, as am requesting this transaction should be done via PayPal so the PayPal charges is on me. If my offer is accepted, Get back to me with your PayPal email and your name or send me PayPal money request so i can pay you right away as soon as i conclude with my shipper, For more inquiry or information contact my shipper (Josh) on  251-285-5153. I am always busy at work and do not have much time around me to make or answer calls. Make sure you get back to me so that we can arrange for pick up as i will like the item to be picked at your residence location, so no shipping. Confirm the sales to me by removing it from the CL post

Regards
Fawn
 So, I knew this was going to be a scam as soon as I saw this for multiple reasons, which I'll list here because this is an analysis:
1)  "Am satisfied with your advert price"?  Who the hell works Craigslist like that?  Usually it's "will you take ___ for it?"  or "are there any damages, tears, stains, etc on it?"..not this.
2)  Shipper?  Seriously?  Usually when you buy something on Craigslist that is just a standard everyday item (like furniture) you don't have a 'shipper', but rather a buddy with a truck who you're giving a six-pack of beer to help you herf the stuff to your house.
3)  251 area code for her alleged shipper, which is Birmingham, Alabama.  I like my couch and chairs and think that I'm selling them for a relatively affordable price, but not so affordable as to have someone from Alabama would drive all the way up here to get them.  I could see it for a collectible car, or something valuable, but seriously, you could buy this stuff at Ethan Allen or Art Van and save yourself the gas.
4)  "I am always busy at work and do not have much time around me to make or answer calls"....ok, aren't we all?  But you're willing to buy something without actually talking to the person?  Meh, I don't think so.
5)  And here's the big one to be honest :  Remove it from the CL post.  Yeah, I don't think so..it'll be removed when the coin is in my hand sister.

So, my response was "I'll remove the CL list when I see the money deposited into my Paypal account, which is ________.  Until then, it stays on Craigslist".

Her response and our further correspondence can be found in my next post.

20 comments:

smurfy said...

I love it! I've gotten this and others similar to this from scammer/spammers. Thanks for the great read!

Maynard said...

Sadly, I just received the same email for a guitar that I've posted on Craig's List. Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Fawn sure gets around... I have a Backhoe for sale... Same response

Thanks for your mail. Am satisfied with your advert price, as am requesting this transaction should be done via PayPal so the Pay Pal charges is on me. If my offer is accepted, Get back to me with your PayPal email and your name or send me PayPal invoice so i can pay you right away as soon as i conclude with my shipper, For more inquiry or information contact my shipper (Josh) on 251-285-5153. I am always busy at work and do not have much time around me to make or answer calls. Make sure you get back to me so that we can arrange for pick up as i will like the item to be picked at your residence location, so no shipping. Confirm the sales to me by removing it from the CL post

Regards
Fawn

Anonymous said...

I had this exact thing happen to me. Fortunately I talked with my uncle (who's a cop) before I proceeded very far. Then I did some research and found your blog post. Awesome! Thanks so much! I filed a complaint with the FBI regarding fraud.

LegacyTrader said...

Kust Happened to me
Thanks for your mail. Am satisfied with your advert price, as am
requesting this transaction should be done via PayPal so the Pay Pal
charges is on me. If my offer is accepted, Get back to me with your
PayPal email and your name or send me PayPal invoice so i can pay you
right away as soon as i conclude with my shipper, For more inquiry or
information contact my shipper (Carrie) on 251-285-5153. I am always
busy at work and do not have much time around me to make or answer
calls. Make sure you get back to me so that we can arrange for pick up
as i will like the item to be picked at your residence location, so no
shipping. Confirm the sales to me by removing it from the CL post

Regards
Fawn


SCAM!!!!!!!!

Jackie said...

I just got the same emails from "Fawn Adams" but from different email addresses than you listed.

Anonymous said...

I just take their e-mail addresses and sign them up for porn newsletters. 6 or 7 sleazy porn sites that deal in animal and other really gross content, then I sit back and smile. I know it probably doesn't do a thing to them, but the thought makes me smile anyway. I figure even if 1/3 of those sites sell their e-mail lists, they should be inundated with crap in nothing flat.

Anonymous said...

I got the same thing - thanks for the post! Now "Fawn" is "Anna"

Anna Durr emmnulogr@gmail.com

1:07 PM (20 minutes ago)

to me
Thank for your mail. Am satisfied with your advert price, as am
requesting this transaction should be done via PayPal so the Pay Pal
charges is on me. If my offer is accepted, Get back to me with your
PayPal email and your name or send me PayPal invoice so i can pay you
right away as soon as i conclude with my shipper, For more inquiry or
information contact my shipper (carier) on 251-285-5153. I am always
busy at work and do not have much time around me to make or answer
calls. Make sure you get back to me so that we can arrange for pick up
as i will like the item to be picked at your residence location, so no
shipping. Confirm the sales to me by removing it from the CL post

Regards

Anna

Anonymous said...

I just got the exact same e-mail for am amp on selling on Craigslist in Philadelphia. January 3rd, 2012 and this dope is still sending the same fraudulent e-mail. Must be working for him.

Anonymous said...

I just got the same message from Anna as well. Haha funny scammers.

Anonymous said...

i just got the same stuff but this time the shippers name is gleave so i reported it to my lawyer to have some fun

Anonymous said...

I just received this response for a Craigslist to sell a saxophone. Thank you for the warning!


Thank for your mail. Am satisfied with your advert price, as am requesting this transaction should be done via PayPal so the Pay Pal charges is on me. If my offer is accepted, Get back to me with your PayPal email and your name or send me PayPal invoice so i can pay you right away as soon as i conclude with my shipper, For more inquiry or information contact my shipper (carrier) on 251-285-5153. I am always busy at work and do not have much time around me to make or answer calls. Make sure you get back to me so that we can arrange for pick up as i will like the item to be picked at your residence location. Confirm the sales to me by removing it from the CL post
Regards
Patricia

Anonymous said...

I just got the same message from "Susan Jessica Morgan Helms" - was suspicious because the name looks absurd and didn't match the email address, combined with the Alabama area code (I'm in LA), the "I don't have time to talk," the intentional misspellings common in scams, asking to remove from "CL," etc. I am so thankful for this post as I just typed in this "carier" phone number and this post showed up. Very nice of you all for sharing your experiences. Clearly it's still going on and using the EXACT SAME WORDING and EXACT SAME PHONE NUMBER. I can't believe this hasn't been stopped by craig's list or the police yet. Again, thanks for the warning.

Anonymous said...

I strongly suspect this is a spammer gathering email addresses. Since Craigslist somewhat blocks your address, the scammer uses your replies to build their spam list as an "opt-in" list because you did email them.

So now they can claim to get around the can spam law (law with no teeth).

I have been looking for a piano and I'm running into similar stuff.

Wilson said...

Get 'em all thte time. I just request their PP address and tell tehm I will ask for $$. They usually stop at that point but it is fun to nudge them a little. Anonymous from 02/19 - I do have a piano for sale - no really. Check out South Bend, IN CL

Anonymous said...

Call his number now 251 285 5153 you will like the new voicemail he will not be scamming with that phone number i love scamming scammers.

jon e said...

got the same email from a "huntzinger 045 @ gmail" He too is "busy"

Mike said...

I just received the same scam coming from the same email address!!!! just that in this case the name is Vanessa Jones!! OMG!! thanks God it didn't sound right to my husband and I copied and pasted the email address in Google and boom!!!! I found this website showing posts about this scam. Thanks a lot for posting this!! It saved me from getting into this crap!!

beth said...

I too received email from Vanessa Jones. She wanted me to wire $500.00 to a woman or company? in Texas. My attorney says scam,bigtime!!

Kristie Morse said...

Just received on from rebecca rebarich.. on the add I have on kijiji for our truck.. word for word it matches what u have posted... thank god my husband googled the name.. thank u everyone for ur posts