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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Scam Email: Alex Starks

Pretty classic scam email below. So many scammers seem lately to be saying they have a store in Finland. Not sure what the preoccupation with Finland is about...

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Alex Starks []
> Subject: order
> Date: June 28, 2014 10:46:33 AM EDT
> To:
> Good day,
> My name is Mr. Alex Starks,I will like to make a purchase to my store in Finland. I run a small store and I am interested in doing business with you. i will like to know if you can work with my shipping agent in making sure your products get to me safely. My method of payment is via my u.s issued credit card ,so kindly advise which card you would require,Visa or Master Card.
> Your swift response will be highly gratified.
> Regards
> Alex Starks

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Scam Email: Adrian Hermes

Here is a scam that is so telling - sent to an "undisclosed list of recipients" (aka huge spam list) and apologizing upfront for not remember your website (they have no way to track the websites of hundreds of thousands of people they spam every day, and really they are not visiting the websites in this case anyway).

What they need for the scam are people to reply to the email and say that's okay... here is my website url. And THAT way when the scammer continues on the steps of the scam, they can make Round 2 of email exchanges a lot more personalized so you believe they are a real buyer when they are not. Then they WILL go to your website and pick out specific artwork to "buy".

In this way, they keep their own efforts efficient and the least amount of work for maximum gain.

What is their gain? With a fake story they will eventually overpay for something and ask the money be forwarded to their [fake] shipper, because they are moving or temporarily out of the country or whatever. And (here comes the kicker), it will need to be wired to them. Hard untraceble cash wired directly to the scammer, who then disappears. While the victim then learns, too late, the original money was either a counterfeit check or a stolen credit card.

How do you avoid this scam? Two simple rules:

1. NEVER accept overpayment for any reason. Just don't.
2. NEVER EVER EVER (can I throw one more in for good measure?) NEVER send money via wire transfer - for any reason. This is the crux of the scam and if you don't do this, you'll be safe from at least this scam.

Check out this scam email:

-----Original Message-----
From: Adrian Hermes []
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Sent: Thu, Jun 5, 2014 2:19 pm
Subject: Inquiry and request about your work of Art

Good morning,
        I was able to view your work from the website you had it displayed in and unfortunately for me i kind of lost the website but i stored your contact,i will like to ask if you have a piece(s) for sale and can you kindly re-direct me to your website. i will be awaiting to read from you soon.

Scam Email: Lesley Donna

Odds are that I, too, am going to receive scam emails directly to my email account, even as I spend so much of my time and energy trying to expose scammers. But scammers don't care - it's a numbers game to them... how many hundreds of thousands of emails can they send, what percentage of people reply thinking it's a real client, what percentage of them get funneled through the entire steps of the scam and actually send their good hard-earned money to a scammer... it's all about the numbers.

How did I know the below was a scam email? Well, I've been looking at these same "stories" for years and really they don't vary much. Also, lately scammers have been really annoying in when they set up their fake name, they've been picking two first names so that usually tells me it's likely a scam email to look at further. Then scammers do this other very odd thing... and they've done this for years - their name at the end of the email always seems to contain a period. In a place where a real person would NOT be putting a period. I don't know why scammers do this. I think they are just using some template and are too dumb to remove it. They also always have this international thing - their fake story either has them living internationally, moving to an international location or temporarily working or serving in the military in some foreign location. That will set up the later part of their scam story as to why you need to *wire* money to them. DON'T! Step away from the western union counter! Don't do it. For any reason. THAT is what the scammer is after. Not your paintings, not your widgets... they are after your cash. Do not accept overpayments and do NOT wire money to anyone for any reason. P.S. Any credit card they use will be stolen (and not always reported as such yet) so ask the scammer for the billing address on the credit card. Chances are the scammer will end the scam right there because they won't know the billing address. Or they may try to provide you a fake one. Call the credit card company and verify if the billing address is the same one as on file.

Okay, enough venting about these scum bags. Here is the scam email I just received.

Return-Path: []
From: Lesley Donna []
Subject: Interested in placing an order

Good Day,

    I am Lesley Donna from Norway, i want to inform you that your items are most creative & desirable, so much talent! I am interested in purchasing some of your artwork/items into my shop here in Norway, but before this is done, i want to inform that i will be making the payment with my Master card Detail because presently my best form of payment is via credit card.
  This is where i put all my money for any international transaction, so kindly reconfirm your website/contact details and get back to me with it so as to know if I'm right with the site.
  Concerning the shipment, my shipping company will be coming to pickup the items because i already have some merchandise with them in which they will be shipping together to me here in Norway, so you don't need to be worried about the shipment nor handling fee.

Brenneriveien 9 B,
0182 Oslo,
Telephone: + 47 23 32 53 20
Telefax:   + 47 23 32 37 04

Warmest Regards,
Lesley Donna.