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 A differnt kind of scam

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jojobean
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I received this email from someone who listened to the NPR show:

Quote:
I am a family counselor/funeral director for a mortuary in San Fransisco, CA. Over the past year we have begun to receive suspicious internet based relay calls in ever increasing frequency. Typically these calls involve someone requesting our help to bring the remains of their "US Citizen relative" who passed away "overseas" - typically in Dubai, or Africa - back to the United States so that the "grieving family" can have a proper funeral service for their deceased loved one. After a very short conversation, it becomes painfully obvious that the call is a scam - especially when the caller notifies us that the overseas mortuary has requested a "release fee" to be sent via Western Union so that the remains can be sent to our facility. The caller typically will say that a "bank guarantee" will be issued to cover our costs. Often times, the initial call is followed by an exchange of emails.

I have reported several of these calls and emails to our local Secret Service "Fraud Squad" but apparently there is very little that they can do, or are willing to do to go after these scammers. I have also reported these scams to the internet providers such as Yahoo and gmail whenever these callers graduate to sending me emails, however what they can do is very limited as well.

I happened upon your "church" after listening to the "This American Life" segment, and thought, what better way to deal with one of these relay calls but to turn these folks posing as bereaved over to you for some spiritual counseling.

Since I am a family counselor, I am afraid that I would not be allowed to bait these folks as you all do (or at least my boss would get plenty pissed if it got out that one of his counselors were doing this) so I hope to appeal to your sense -- well, I guess sense of humor would cover it -- for some assistance. Perhaps you could tell me if there would be a better way of getting these cretins busted, or stopping them from calling my funeral home.

Anyways, even if you cannot do anything for me it was certainly nice to vent. Cheers to you all and please keep up the good work and keep fighting the good fight. Gotta tell you that since I heard that NPR segment that I think you dudes are rockstar heroes (and I don't think you dudes came off poorly at all)

Later,

Mike


I thought that was an interesting type of scam. Advanced Fee fraudstars starting out with the phone and a very specific venue, a funeral home. I have heard of the phone scams before, but this one seemed a bit different.

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Jayhawk
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Aw, this was just an excuse for jojo to post the "rockstar heroes" comment. Very Happy

That was an interesting twist. I would be curious to know just how many funeral homes fall for this type of thing.

Does TWAT doe grief counseling? I know that they CAUSE grief, but do they counsel it as well?

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YeaWhatever
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Of course TWAT does grief counseling. We are a church afterall, right?

I think that we should try to bait these guys but since the scams start out as phone calls, we will need this funeral home guy to pass along the info to us so we can see if we can do this without getting the innocent funeral home guy killed by a lad.

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Mugatu
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^ I can be a funeral home on the phone if need be. Pass my number on if it's any good, I can PM it to you.
I had a lad who was targetting funeral directors last year, but by email. I can't remember how I got involved with him, but I tagged along... to be honest I think it was a new format for him because he didn't really know where to take it himself.
He was claiming to be burying his Mum by the way, if that helps.

I've not seen a direct phone approach on businesses before.

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jojobean
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

YeaWhatever wrote:
I think that we should try to bait these guys but since the scams start out as phone calls, we will need this funeral home guy to pass along the info to us so we can see if we can do this without getting the innocent funeral home guy killed by a lad.


He has passed along one of them to me.

Oh, Jayhawk, I accidentally left that in there. Embarassed You know that's not our style.

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YeaWhatever
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, good. Let's get started. Perhaps TWAT could have it's very own funeral service business for it's members? I could add onto the website a "member services" link or something.

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Jayhawk
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ Personalized funerals and caskets are all the rage right now. Gone are the days of the tasteful casket. In are the days of the casket that looks like a football, while the deceased is dressed out in his favorite teams gear.

I bet TWAT could have a field day with this. Was the deceased into strip clubs? No problem. This casket has a built-in stippers pile, and the deceased can be buried standing up with a pile of singles in his pocket. Maybe the dearly departed really loved his Ford Mustang? If so, you'll want the "Mustang" casket, with racing stripes on the side, and a steering wheel for the deceased to drive off into the afterlife.

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i will kill you even if it take me to go to jail i will do that because i hate you with all my life....
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Last edited by Jayhawk on Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jojobean
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The email is in the TWAT account.

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manbiteslion
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Just to cover ground you've probably already covered Jojo, but as this seems to be a specific scam in a very narrow market sector, the best offense the letter-writer can take is to contact all the trade journals/press and web forums for the funeral sector - as we all know knowledge is the key here.

If word goes around that relatively small community the scam can be nipped in the bud, leaving only baiters funeral services playing along...maybe on a referral basis - "sorry we can't help you but you may like to talk to Mugatu Funeral Services who specialise in this kind of thing - call them on xxx-xxx-xxxx", etc.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:02 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ I like that suggestion. It leaves the ITP funeral homes well out of it.

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Bringoutyourdead
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Mod edit - full quote of initial post removed, a simple @ JoJo would suffice rather than a full quote Wink - SP

I thought that was an interesting type of scam. Advanced Fee fraudstars starting out with the phone and a very specific venue, a funeral home. I have heard of the phone scams before, but this one seemed a bit different.[/quote]

jo-jo:

Impressed by the responses I saw to the post you put up (thanks for protecting my identity) I just had to join your group here. At the risk of getting heat from my boss, I spent some down time today at the mortuary looking over a lot of the posts and found myself enthralled and entertained.

One of the responders to the initial post above mentioned that he might be willing to pose as a TWAT affiliated funeral home and might be willing to field these bogus relay calls. Since I am not sure if it would be appropriate to contact him directly (and if I did, I wonder if he would view my PM with suspicion anyway) I thought that I would contact you first to see if this is something that you would recommend. Please let me know how best to proceed.

Thanks again for your quick response to my initial request. You can always reach me on my private email or now on my account here at the forum.

User Edit- Thanks Mod, and apologies from this newbie for including the whole post instead of a snippet, which would of course have been logical. Embarassed

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Last edited by Bringoutyourdead on Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jayhawk
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:39 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ So you're saying that things were kinda dead today at work?

ba-dum-dum!

(I'm allowed to make that joke as my dad worked at a funeral home his entire life)

I'm really curious to see just where this one leads to.

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Mortar x8 Nurse Nastys Audi TTNurse Nastys Audi TT Whip Goat Goat < slacking?
just checked the site for update now, shipment smurfs in Porto Novo. Yes!! - Stanley
i will not share my smurfs with anybody again - Stanley (again)
Yes pets are allowed as far as you will occupy the apartment alone, you can release the Kraken.

i will kill you even if it take me to go to jail i will do that because i hate you with all my life....
assisin killer to Feathers McGraw
PLEASE I BEG YOU TO LET ME KNOW THAT PIGGIES OF YOURS PLEASE... assisin killer to Feathers again
YOU PEOPLE HAS DESTROY MY LIFE... Mr. Humphere, lottery scammer
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sir scam alot
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

@Bringoutyourdead: I should have thought of that for a username. You're in the right company here.

Can't wait to see what JoJo has in mind for them but I'm sure it will be epic. Laughing

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:44 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Can I head the music department? Very Happy

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Bringoutyourdead
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:56 am Reply with quoteBack to top

~ Jayhawk,

Laughing My condolences!

Good one though! You dudes really are rockstars!
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Bringoutyourdead
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:57 am Reply with quoteBack to top

sir scam alot wrote:
@Bringoutyourdead: I should have thought of that for a username. You're in the right company here.


thanks brother. Honored to be here with you fine folks!

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Bringoutyourdead
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The following are links related to relay call fraud. One leads to a statement by a worker from a relay call center. She talks about the assorted problems she has experienced with fraudulent relay calls.

http://www.aboutmyjob.com/main.php3?action=displayarticle&artid=3250

http://news.bookweb.org/m-bin/printer_friendly?article_id=3273

http://finalembrace.com/2008/08/15/my-first-ip-relay-call/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ID/4781806/

Thought that this might be of interest to you folks, as many of the above links show that it is not only funeral homes that are being targeted.

These relay calls not only waste the time of businesses,, but they also make it difficult for legitimate hearing impaired users of IP relay call centers to be taken seriously. It could eventually get to the point where these services are so overwhelmed with fraud that these services will become too difficult for legitimate hard of hearing folks to use. In essence, every time one of these idiots attempt to pull their petty scam via a relay call center they are not only victimizing an innocent business but they are also victimizing the disabled.

This should not be allowed to continue unabated.

I thank you all in advance for whatever steps you might be able to take to combat this sort of abuse. Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated.

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Last edited by Bringoutyourdead on Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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thud419
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:29 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Here's one of our threads on the subject.
http://forum.419eater.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=124486
(from 2007, please do not post in it.)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

This really makes me angry! Evil or Very Mad

And with the operators being required to strictly relay only what is said on either end, with no editorial comments, it must be terrible for them to have to participate in something they know is a fraud. There is such a fine line between protecting someone and invading their privacy. Sad

I have spoken with people over the relay system, and the operators do an excellent job of communication. It hurts to see them get burned out and frustrated by having to help someone scam a victim.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 11:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

thud419 wrote:
Here's one of our threads on the subject.
...
(from 2007, please do not post in it.)

Do you realise you just asked an undertaker not to necro? Wink
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thud419
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:45 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Laughing Laughing Laughing One reason I did not use that term.

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