Sunday, August 14, 2011

To all of those who have emailed me or left comments here regarding my 'scammer' post, thank you.  I'm glad that my experience could help someone else distinguish between a scam artist and a real "customer". 
As for my experience, I've not heard back from the "FBI" or the worthless wastes of oxygen that were trying to scam me.  But they're still out there and if I am contacted, be sure that I'll post it here in an attempt to both inform and identify the idiot.

"Let's be careful out there"

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Anatomy of an Internet scam pt 2

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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: ).  Shortly thereafter I received the following inquiry from Fawn Adams []:
Hello, confirm to me if its still available for sale and in good condition. I will be available for pick up

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

"Fawn's" (although from a different address this time, [] 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

 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'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.