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 Need Opinions On An Email That We Received Where I Work

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Benjamin_Franklin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:34 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'd like to get your thoughts on an email we received where I work. I handle all of our email tech support, and occasionally I see emails which are inquiries needing to be forwarded to our sales folks. Among those emails, there are sometimes ones that I look at and wonder if it's some sort of scam or other deception. Such an email arrived this morning and I am wondering what y'all think.

Here's the email content:

Quote:
Your preschool workbook seems quite effective and I am interested to introduce the same in our school (Kindergaten classes). Therefore, I request you to please provide samples of the book to get the opinion of teachers. Cost and other related details, if any, may also be provided. Thanks.
Shafiq
Principal
Pakistan Education Academy
Dubai


The email came from a gmail address, which I found a bit strange. This Pakistan Education Academy does have their own domain and website (www.pea.ae) so I kind of expect the school principal to have an address from that domain.

Maybe the paranoid part of me is over analyzing and there's nothing to worry about with it, but I dunno, something just doesn't sit right. Any opinions? Could it be a "send your product list" type of scam but the scammer is targeting a company and mentioning relevant products in order to establish a sense of legitimacy?

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Big Al
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Did you Google any of the phrases? That might give you a hint. (A tip I got from Dorothy TYVM)
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next victim
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The sign-off looks very odd with just the first name. I would think that a real educator would give a more complete name.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Why is the Pakistan Education Academy registered in the United Arab Emirates? (I can't access the UAE whois server now, but .ae is the tld for UAE.)

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Benjamin_Franklin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@Big Al - I did search for his email address, his name and the name of the school, and did a quick look through their site. No match on his address. I did find a LinkedIn profile that could be the guy, but it's a stretch at best. The phrasing seems pretty specific to contacting us (which does add to his credibility or cleverness I suppose), so I hadn't tried searching for any of what he wrote.

@next victim - I spotted that as well and felt it was unusual. Likewise, there is no sense of professionalism in the message. It's just strange. There's a typo in his message as well, but if English is not his primary language, I can understand that slipping through.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I also couldn't connect to the ae WhoIs server. However I did do a comparison of the map on their Contact Us section with a Google Maps of the same area and there is a "Pakistan Education Acadamy" highlighted on the Google Maps page, so it looks like the organisation is legitimate.

The question that is left is whether the email came from the organisation or a scammer and with it being a gmail address it will be difficult to answer. With regards the using just a forename, I have seen some official documents prepared by a Pakistani and they signed off with just a forename.

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Benjamin_Franklin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:54 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I reached the same conclusion B8er - there's no way to know for sure whether or not this guy is legit.

I wound up sending the email on to our sales folks, but mentioned that it seemed suspicious to me. I may ask later to see what they decided to do, and how things turned out.

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piecrust
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Tabinda Al Gazala is the principal according to several sources including:
http://www.dubaifaqs.com/pakistan-education-academy.php
Unless there's been a quick change of Head without the www being told about it, it's a big old fraud.

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MuzunguTheHuntress
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Honestly, it sounds like a creative home-schooler is looking for free texts. If I had to pay the cost of living prices in Dubai, I'd be looking for freebies, too, lol. Did they give an address that corresponds with the actual facility? If so, then somebody could have asked their secretary to send an inquiry - and he/she's not familiar with standard business protocol. It's common practice for businesses to ask for "samples" - but we usually request an MOQ and a price break-out, as well as inquire as to the cost of the sample. (ain't nothin' free in this world ) I've even paid for items that had a $2 usd price point - but I've also had companies send samples of expensive essential oils in expensive glass vials ... for free. (*that* oddly enough, makes me more cautious than the people who want reimbursed for their $2 POS). Being one who sends such e-mails regularly, I say it smacks of reality - but there's a lot of necessary info missing. When ordering from a new publisher, I always ask MOQ per title, etc. Publishers who send fully printed texts often 'remainder' them before sending - or send a copy of a galley like they'd send to a reviewer. <imho, etc etc .. all caveats apply>

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Agent1002
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^^ I think you are right that someone is looking for free materials.

A way to frustrate the lad is to send him a NDA for him to sign and return. Tell you mailed it to the school office by snail mail. You await it's return. If he says thank you, send the school an NDA by snail mail. If he complains, then you know.


NDA Non Disclosure Agreement.

When lads use the credentials of a real establishment, sending stuff to them to the real entity is always a source for frustration. I did that to a banker. Sent the WU as a money order. (not really) and that caused the lad much frustration. Then we got the MO changed to a straight WU transfer. I FAXed the MTCH and test question to the real bank (not really). The lad hated that dolla chop by the real bank. Good luck. Very Happy

If the real school has a real fax number, tell the lad you faxed the NDA and await the reply fax.

Sweet. Fax +971-4-3347112

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Benjamin_Franklin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I hadn't thought of the looking for freebies angle. Definitely a good point. Well hopefully out sales people are aware of crap like that. It's not really my responsibility to hawk over them, so I'm just going to have to trust that they're careful about it.

Assuming that this person is looking for free stuff, this wouldn't be the first time. It's kind of surprising how many people write to us asking for donations or free gift codes to apps. I usually ignore them unless it's clearly for a legitimate school wanting to preview our software before they make a purchase. You can usually tell if they are real because their messages come from an IT person and their email is professional looking, unlike this guy from Dubai.

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"BIG BODY LIKE ELEPHANT, small knowledge and wisdom like mosquito. SHAME ON YOU THE FIRST FOOL OF THE GREATEST ORDER." - Wilson Smith<br>"I HAVE A GOOD NEWS FOR YOU, YOU CAN STILL QUIT THIS JOB BEFORE YOU GO HANGYOURSELF." - Wilson Smith<br>"I want you to understand that those guys at Western Union are nothing but enemies of progress" - Jude 0koya

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MuzunguTheHuntress
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

<snicker> ... not the least bit surprised at how many people write asking for free product. Not scammers - just people angling for a gimmee. However, when they present themselves as a legitimate operation, it tends to irritate me. I have a large metal box where I file all such requests - the pic might be in one of the other threads - perhaps 'wheelie bin' thread. Most helpful for the endless begging. I get, on average, requests for 4x my monthly gross .. and they no longer say "would you care to" - now they're specific - and getting greedier. I'm sure your sales staff will nip 'em in the bud. Good instincts - if it smells like a scam ...

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Lads send similar mail when doing credit card overpayment scams which are usualy targeted to the recipients line of business. There is one big thing missing in this one though. "Do you accept credit cards". I do not see evidence of a scam unless he is really slow playing it.


I do have a sense of deja vu though. Seems like I've seen something posted similar here or scamwarners...

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