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

So, after communicating to this person that I was serious, and wasn't about to be scammed, they sent me the following email:
Having concluded all arrangement with the shipper, this is to notify you that I will be transferring your money shortly. I will also be adding the shippers money to the total amount I am sending and this is due to the fact that, I am presently off-shore and have no other means of transferring the shipper's money directly. So, I implore you to proceed to any Western Union Money Transfer outlet and have the excess funds transferred from your pocket to the shipper's information asap via Western Union Money Transfer and get back to paypal via email with the transfer details so that paypal can complete the full processing of your money into your account after all transaction data (Western Union Money Transfer details) is confirmed by paypal. As an added security measures, paypal will also confirm my shipper's identity to you on the payment confirmation page that you will receive in your paypal email address as soon as I have your money sent.

Shortly thereafter, I received an email from Paypal (or at least, designed to look like it was from Paypal) which suspiciously came from a Gmail address; on behalf of; []....On behalf of  Seriously?  What kind of horrible conman is this clown?  I mean, I was really hoping for something that I'd have to actually investigate, but this?  Holy crap, talk about amateur stuff:


This email confirms that Fawn Adams has sent you $1,050.00 USD

View the details of this Transaction here:

Payment Details

Transaction ID: 9TQ95872YQ3811983P               

   Item #
  Item Title
Couch, matching chairs, and footstool

Pick-up & Delivery: 
(Includes western union charges fees)  
Shipping Insurance:

 This is to inform you that you are required to send a sum of $350.00 USD to the address below via Western Union Money Transfer and get back to us with the relevant information's which you will be provided with after the money has been sent. You are requested to give us the Mtcn# (Money Transfer Control Number) and the Sender's Name and Address used in making the transfer after which we will then credit the total sum of $1,050.00 USD into your PayPal account. Below is the Address where the money is to be sent using Western Union Money Transfer.


Agent's Info:
Jaison Moravec
106 North Cedar, Wicnita
Kansas 67217, USA.

Address Status:

Please note:
We wish to inform you that Fawn Adams has made her intentions known to PayPal that she will like $350.00 USD to be sent to the recipient's address above via Western Union Money Transfer.

Click here to locate nearest Western Union Agent in your area or send money online.

Note: As this transaction was done via our e-mail payments service, any inquiries and necessary information should be sent to us by directly replying to this message, because of the status of this transaction, it has not been passed on to our customer care phone service section, and all inquiries should be directed to this e-mail address as it is the one monitored for your transaction. 
This payment has been deducted from the buyer's account and has been " APPROVED" but will not be credited into your account until the MTCN # is sent to us for verification, so as to secure both the buyer and the seller. Below are the relevant information required before your account will be credited.

 Please Click here to contact PayPal Customer Service Department concerning this Transaction.

All you have to do is to Click here or reply directly to this email with the MTCN and the Sender's Name and Address used when sending the money through Western Union Money Transfer. You will receive a "Confirmation Email" from PayPal Service informing you that your PayPal account has been credited with $1,050.00 USD as soon as the above information's has been received and Verified by us.

Please, understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect both the Buyer and the Seller. We apologize for the inconvenience that has caused you.

Because of the inconvenience this causes we are giving you the next two incoming transfers for free! You will pay no fees for your next two incoming transfers.

PayPal will be responsible for any loss incurred during the course of this transaction.

With more than 147 million accounts worldwide, we are a leading online payment method you can trust!

Thank you for using PayPal®.
PayPal Security.

Scott Thompson
PayPal, Inc

PayPal Email ID PP1525

 Copyright© 1999-2011 PayPal. All rights reserved. PayPal (USD) Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the United State of America as an electronic money institution. PayPal FSA Register Number: 226056.

PayPal Email ID PP1525

Looks legit, right?  Well, ok, perhaps not when you actually LOOK at it.  For example, why would Paypal encourage and assist you to use one of their competitors, Western Union?  Additionally, I checked my Paypal account and there was no such deposit made.  Also, why would use a Gmail address?  Truly we could attribute the "Wicnita KS" to a typo, but seriously? The zip is indeed Wichita, so this Jaison Moravec likely lives there.  Why the FBI hasn't hunted his ass down and beaten him with a stick, I don't know.  Likely because he doesn't actually exist, just like that address doesn't actually exist.  I'd be more than happy to work with Western Union and give this clown the info that I sent the cash, only to have this idiot show up to get it and have them bust him...but I suppose $350 bucks isn't worth their time...Although I'm thinking I'm not the first nor last.

So, after emailing these clowns the following:

Worst fake ever. Seriously, you expect someone with half a brain to believe this sort of stupidity

Scammers like you should die in a fire. Glad I didn't remove the listing from Craigslist.

You suck as a human being and as a con-artist.
I receive this:
Federal Bureau of InvestigationHeader Cell

We received complaint over the money sent into your PayPal account by the Fawn Adams. We have rigorously cross checked the money sent to you and was confirmed and intact but pending. We need to verify and be sure that you have sent the shippers fee via Western Union Money Transfer before your money can be funded into your PayPal account. This measure is taken for online security check for both the buyer/seller and we will like you to abide by all PayPal rules as regards this payment. Send the excess funds to the shipper in Kansas as soon as you see this email and get back to us with the receipt of the Western Union Money Transfer, so that we can verify it and credit your account with immediate effect. 

 We need to prove beyond all reasonable doubts that you are legitimate and that's why we need you to send us a proof of this transaction in order to secure the buyer from fraud.

Here's the email address that the Western Union Money Transfer details should be sent to:

Failure to abide by this specified instruction may lead to your name and address being forwarded to the law enforcement agency in your state to get you arrested because, you are practicing scam. Your account with PayPal will be blocked. In order to avoid this, send the excess funds withing 24 hours and send details to PayPal customer service department for verification. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any comment on this issue at(

OOOOhhh...I know they didn't...Bringing in the FBI? Because I didn't pay them? So now I'm the scammer? Well, not so much...again, looking at the return address, it comes from; on behalf of; []. Seriously? Now the FBI is using Gmail accounts to send out their investigative emails which are being sent on behalf of Paypal? Man, I'm starting to get confused? Is it the FBI or Paypal that's investigating this? Oh, and by the way, the special agent listed as the sender, has been retired for 7 months from the FBI (I didn't list him here because the guy served our country well and doesn't deserve any more bad press).
So, once again, I've told these ass-munching twits to die in a fire and please tell me their home addresses so I can come over and show them just how stupid they are.

I've not heard back yet, but I'm sure it'll be amusing. And I'll post it all here.

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.