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Monday, February 7, 2011

Scam Email: Ladd Smith

This is a pretty classic "first email" from a scammer. The IP path was routed through Yahoo but seems to have originated from

From: Ladd Smith []
Subject: ORDER

Hello there,
I will like to place an order for art piece to my location in Malaysia, kindly let me know if you can charge directly on my credit card(U.S. funds) for payment.
I have a shipper who can also get the order to my doorstep in Malaysia.
Await your timely reply.
Thank you.


  1. then if one replies... what happens?

  2. The classic structure of this scam is that at some point, the scammer will mention they have a third party shipper they are comfortable with who will handle picking up and shipping items. Then in that same email or in another email after you've replied again, they will come up with some story of why they are sending you more money than they owe, and have you send the "difference" on to the shipper via Western Union for them. They will offer to pay via a check sent overnight or lately they also offer to pay via a credit card.

    The check will turn out to be fraudulent (and sometimes people don't know about the overage until they've received the check). If they offer to pay via a credit card, it will turn out to be a stolen number (often not yet reported so it might actually clear on your end, but then end up in a chargeback later). And there is no shipping company - it is just the scammers themselves sitting at the other end of Western Union.

    So the only *real* money in the scam is your money sending the "difference" via Western Union... to them.

    The scammers could care less about the items in the scam. I don't even know what they do with items they receive. And often they don't receive any items at all because they've made up the shipping address. They only care about that cash you send them via Western Union.

    While the scammers vary the fake names, email addresses, locations, and shipping company name, I'm actually often surprised how little they vary the rest of the scam.

    Undeniable flags? Any sale where the buyer is using a third party shipper and pays more than what is owed asking you to send it along to the shipper. Always, always, always a scam.

  3. thanks. I've heard of it before. But couldn't figure out how they would get money out of it. I'll ignore it.

  4. Got one very similar to this last month...from Slovenia. Third party shipping company had a website but it was under construction. Also found the shipping company listed on another site that stated some company history and principal figures. Figured it might be legit -- only found this website today.

    Only difference - the "customer" gave me a credit card number and it cleared (not surprisingly) and now the money has been in our company account for several weeks. Going to talk to the bank today and see what options we have.

    Any thoughts?

  5. Yes, I've seen where the scammers will at times pick perfectly legitimate shipping companies to use in their email... but it doesn't mean they've had ANY conversations or connections to those shipping companies.

    Did they pay more than the price of the items and ask you to forward the difference to the shipper via Western Union? If you did that, then that money is gone. Untraceable. But they did commit a crime, so even though you'll likely get no recourse, it helps to report it (see the links I have in the upper right-hand column).

    As for the credit card payment, it is likely the credit card company will process a chargeback once the fraudulent charges have been discovered - either by the credit card company's fraud alert system or by the actual owner of the credit card. I do recommend talking to the bank, but my guess is you are out that money as well as any products you shipped.

    Some people have been insisting on only shipping to the address listed on the credit card holder's account and no other address. you can then verify the address of the credit card number and see if it matches. But in the case of the scammers, it will never match, because they only have the number. And their whole scam is to use a third-party something so they can explain why they are sending you too much money (which always turns out to be faked) so that you send your good money to some non-existent shipper. And via Western Union is so you can't know its really just the scammer at the other end, waiting to collect up their money.

    It's why this particular scam is SO persistent. they are still making money at it. I do recommend reporting it to as many authorities as you can.

    Sorry to hear this happened to you.

  6. Before, I was confident that I won't be scammed by ignoring emails from unknown persons. But now that I am about to start an online business, I think I need to know these kinds of tactics by scammers. Maybe we need to double check the profiles of people before sending out anything to them.


  7. Got this email today. You'd think they would at least change the email address. ISP search revealed this came from Nigeria. Beware scammers!!

    Reply To:
    Hello there,
    I will like to place an order to my location in Malaysia, kindly let me know if you can charge directly on my credit card(U.S. funds) for payment.
    I have a shipper who can also get the order to my doorstep in Malaysia.
    Await your timely reply.
    Thank you.

  8. I just heard from that same person- saying they are Ladd Smith.

    how do you recommended reporting it to? yahoo abuse? and?

  9. You can report them to yahoo, which usually results in them just opening up another disposable yahoo account. There isn't much to do. They often send their fraudulent checks via federal Express, who doesn't really do anything about it. And its not a crime unless a fraudulent check is sent in the USPS mail, which they carefully avoid. There are other services to report to (see my list of links in the upper right-hand column) but most of these are meant for those who have actually had a financial loss - meaning you fell for the scam and sent your good money to them.

    It is what makes these so frustrating and why I started the blog. I couldn't see a good way to fight back except to expose them online as much as I can and hope people search online before sending money or product.

  10. You are right about that! Anyone who gives me contact information and asks me to pay and they will pay me, always makes me question it.

  11. Ladd Smith had me on the line for about an hour. I even replied and asked for the shipper to contact me, which they did through another gmail address.

    I started to get suspicious when I started noticing glaring grammatical errors. Glad that this site exposes this scam.

  12. Here's all the emails he sent to me:

    I found some of your good art works which I will like to purchase.I need you to write back to me first so I can specify my choice.
    I hope you revert back most promptly.

    Sorry for the delay as I was waiting on update from the bank as to validation of my credit card.I am still willing to purchase the specified artworks and I hope it is still available.I should get the update today being Tuesday and will send you the details to charge.I will authorize your actual amount and also $650 for the shipment which will be charged along with the cost of the items.The shipper will get in touch with you soon as payment is cleared and ready to ship.I will send you the details in my next email.Thanks and hope you revert back to confirm you received my email. Ladd.

    Good day to you.I received and forwarded the packaging details to the shipper.It is okay that way but if there is any other information from the shipper,I will let you know.
    I am providing my mastercard details below for you to debit the total sum including the cost of shipment which sum up to - Artwork worth $1,725+ Shipment $650=$2,375.
    Below are the details -

    Name on card:Ladd Smith
    Card number: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Address: he gives me an authentic address.
    3 digits security #:xxx
    Expiry date:xx/xx

    Go ahead to charge amount now and write back to me with confirmation.
    Thank you,

    I (the artist) tried to run Ladd's credit card but it did not go through ... this before I knew he was a scammer.

    I am wondering what could be wrong.I will rectify and get back to you. Thank you. Ladd.

    Then Ladd sent me another card and wanted me to split the charges up between the 2 cards ... This is when I knew this guy was doing something weird. I then googled him and found out he was and is a SCAMMER!
    I did not lose a dime but this was a close call.

  13. Ladd Smith contacted me and wanted to buy $1725 of my work. He spoke of his shipper that would contact me and wanted me to charge $650 additional to his bill for shipping. His credit card did not go through so he gave me another card with an address in TX. the first card's address was in CA so it was WEIRD!! Then I googled him and what do ya know ... Scammer!!

    Ladd Smith is operating under:


  14. You know in these cases, the scammers just have a bunch of stolen credit card numbers (not the cards) - a LOT of them, and many of them have not yet been reported as stolen (so their scam will proceed because the victim thinks it's a good number but it will become a chargeback). A scammer will try several if a potential victim says it "didn't go through", until they hit one that hasn't been reported yet.

    Report these numbers to the credit card company so those poor people will know their credit card number has been stolen.

    Thanks for writing in.

  15. Here's how to report suspected credit card fraud:

    1) Obtain the credit card issuing bank's phone number from Visa or mastercard.

    2) Call the credit card issuing bank and ask for the fraud department.

    3) Explain that a fraudulent transaction was made on your website using their customer's debit or credit card.

    * To obtain the credit card issuing bank's phone number:

    For Visa, call 1-800-847-2750, press 2, then enter the credit card number.

    For mastercard, call 1-800-622-7747, press 1, press 2, enter the credit card number, press 1, press 1.