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 My first scambait

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Master Baiter

Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 167
Location: Location: Location.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

OK, this is my first solo scam. Sadly, I don't seem to have kept complete records of the sting, but I was documenting it as I went for my friends on Facebook (who found it most amusing), so this is a slightly abridged version.

I think it went a bit weak on the ending, as I lost patience with it all - after 24 hours - and broke cover. Satisfying, all the same...

ETA: apologies for the rather larger-than-life "telexes" - damn images resized on my screen so I didn't realise they were slightly bigger than they actually were.


I got an email "from" someone I had corresponded with a good while before, claiming to be stuck in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur and in need of $1500 after having his cards stolen. The writing style was all wrong, and this is someone who wasn't going to find himself in that position. So I decided to have a little fun...

There was an email address, supposedly of the Mandarin Orient Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, for one Mr Haymond Nelson. My friend's name - slightly changed - was, for the purposes of this document, John Bennett (this is only significant because I kept changing his name slightly during the sting).

So, on with the motley.

First of all, I reply to my friend c/o the Mandarin Hotel - Nelson is being kind enough to let him use the hotel's email.

"Sorry to hear this, John! I didn't realise you were going to Malaysia!

I must say, though - the tone of the email doesn't sound like your usual one, this robbery must have really hit you hard.

You say they will "hand you over to the hotel management" if you don't settle the bill - is that really such a problem? I am sure the management, if they are understanding enough to let you use their email service, will be able to be helpful as far as your bill is concerned.

Do let me know if there is anything else I can do to help..."

Our man Nelson replies quite rapidly:
Dear S_____,
We have been kind enough to help your friend so far, but now we need an advance payment for the hotel bills, I told him if he can pay half we would try to see how we would help with the embassy. I except any payment from you so that I can try to balance my recordm I cannot afford to loose my job because I have helped your friend so far

Mr Haymond Nelson

I am, naturally, concerned that this helpful member of staff should suffer for his kindness, and take the opportunity to let him know that I am a man of means.

Oh, I am sure your employers would not make you lose your job for taking such good care of a customer. Would they?

Really, I think it is incredible that you have do so much for my friend already, and your employers should be rewarding you for your customer service, not punishing you. Perhaps when this is all over and sorted out, I can write a letter to them to tell them how much help you have been.

I imagine it might be quite difficult getting money to Malaysia, so I am wondering how we might organise that. I still need to talk to my bank, too, to see if they can release sufficient funds: although the company I run is very rich, our financial director is very strict about payments! It is after banking hours here now, so it may have to wait until the morning, unless I can make a few telephone calls...

(there appears to be some correspondence missing, here - the upshot of which was that when I asked if I might correspond directly with my "friend", the hotel had suddenly withdrawn his Internet access, which seemed to be slightly at odds with their kindness so far. A mere $500 would sort it.
Dear S______,
You are indeed a good friend, I am very sorry that your friend does not have internet access now if you can send at least $500 the hotel will restore his internet access and he may be able to talk with you.
Kindly find below the payment details

Kindly send the $500 through western union and keep a copy of the payment receipt for reference purpose. After sending the money provide the payment

informations on the payment slip to enable him receive the money so that I can have peace and return Home.

Sender's Name: ______________________

Sender's Address: ______________________

Amount Sent: ______________________

(MTCN) Number: ===============

Thank You and God bless you

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Frontdesk
[email protected]
Phone number (+60172837964)

And we are into the evening, here, which is going to make getting to Western Union rather more difficult...

I am still trying to sort out getting funds to a Western Union office to do the transfer. It is made more difficult by it being out of business hours here, and there is no Western Union office in this city. I have my team trying to find out how we can get this money to you any other way.

(note that I've dropped in a mention of my "team" - I want Nelson to know that we have a well-resourced operation here Smile )

Nelson replies - is it just me, or is he getting a little...terse?
Dear S_____,
Almost every bank has a western union money transfer located inside, visit any bank close to you and ask for the western union section.
this is the payment details which you are to use

Receiver: Mr Haymond Nelson
Address : Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.

Kindly send the $500 through western union. provide the payment detaisl on the slip as giving to you by the western union operator.

So, I thought I'd address my not-entirely-unreasonable concerns about the security of Western Union transactions - I was half-hoping he'd realise that he might have been blown, and back down, but that was clearly not going to be the case. But I thought I might gently put the wind up him by mentioning our "branch office" in KL. I haven't told him what my company does, yet, either, but he may be concerned when he finds out.
Hello, Mr Haymond Nelson.

Unfortunately, it is a quarter to six in the evening here in the UK, and all the banks are shut. I could possibly do an online transfer via Western Union, as I now have the funds released for you, but I am not quite happy about the security of this - there have been a lot of reports of scams involving Western Union transfers where people have had their money intercepted en route, and this would obviously be very inconvenient, not only for my friend, but also maybe for your job, since you have been so kind and helpful to him.

Naturally, I would not wish for this to happen, so I am trying to organise alternative ways of getting the funds to you. One possibility is that my company has a branch office in Kuala Lumpur, and it may be that one of my people can get payment in cash to you at the hotel, which might be more secure.

Assuring you of my constant kind regards in this matter.

Please pass on my regards to my friend Jimbo Bullett, (note deliberate mis-spelling of name, just for laffs) and let him know we will have things sorted as soon as possible.

And back he comes:
You are a very good friend, I also assure you that western union is secure enough because most of our transactions concerning similar cases have been with western union, you can send the money online via western union website ( I assure that the security is 100% secure here because there is a western union bank here in the hotel.
Thank you and hope you acknowledge our mode of payment.

Oh, he really doesn't want me to use anything other than WU, does he? *snigger* I did wonder how many "similar cases" this hotel gets - though I thought I'd only confuse the issue if I went down that road!

So, ever-helpful, I have our "US office" (where it is still in office hours) do the Western Union transfer - adding all kinds of potential for cockups along the way. You'll note that I have appealed to his greed by bunging in a "tip" - I'm all heart, me. Note also the complete mangling of any name by the telex operator: this will come in handy later.
I have had the attached telex from my accounts people - I think they may have routed the Western Union transfer via the US, where banks are still open. Please keep the telex confidential, as my company does business in very sensitive markets in Malaysia and we do not want to create an international incident, but to assure you of the authenticity of our communications I felt it best to scan the telex complete.

Let me know when you have received the transfer successfully.


But there are problems! Oh noez, the MTCN wasn't readable! Actually, there was nothing wrong with it except for a Z being in there: he knew that!
Dear Stephen,
Thank you very much for sending me $150, I appreciate it! but the mtcn on the telex is not clear can you look at it clearly and resend to me?

(At this point there was some to-ing and froing as we worked through various permutations of unreadable MTCNs - I think I got the traditional "are you messing me around?" email somewhere along the way, and fired a hapless telex operator).

But I am not the master of my own destiny! Now my staff - whose responsibility is security - are suspicious, and want to check things out. Here's Mister Reasonable, with all these uppity employees checking up on things, bah!

Another telex, which I forward to Nelson:

Together with accompanying email:
My people are becoming suspicious. Can you confirm a) your identity per the attached telex from our security people in KL, and b) that Jimbo Bullett is safe and in your presence. I suggest, if he cannot get onto the Internet, that if you ask him the following question, and relay the answer, that will confirm for us that he is safe and well.

"What is the best leg of a truncated giraffe in September?"

He will know the correct answer to give, and this can reassure us that all is well.

I shouldn't worry too much about Maj Spilling's comments about the police - he does tend to overreact somewhat, and has probably only put a few of his armed security guys on the job, rather than actually going as far as to involve the local police. He's just doing his job.

Best regards

Nelson prevaricates:
Your friend is fine and in good care but is unable to reach you until I receive the money for the bills, Your people are suspicious because of $500? if he was kidnapped would the ransom be $500? I am sorry I can not scan any form of my identity to you. I have done my best to help.

Quel surprise - he's not going to identify himself! Well, it was worth a try, I suppose Smile We now have armed security people involved, hem hem hem.

I keep up the pressure:

Did you ask him the question? What was the answer he gave?

Answer came there none. I truly thought he was on to me at this point, and that the sting was dead in the water. Nonetheless, I persisted, sending Nelson a "scan" of another telex I'd had from our KL office:

Apparently I signed an order saying cash transfers over $350 should only be made against production of certified ID.

This happened after - would you believe it! - the company was cheated out of $10,000 by someone pretending to be the relative of a deceased Nigerian general trying to get his money out of the country.

I could probably override the order, but people might wonder why I am breaking my own rules.

As for the kidnapping thing, you must forgive Maj Spilling, but he does take his job very seriously, and is prone to seeing all kinds of threats around every corner. I am sure Mr Bullett has not been kidnapped, but Maj Spilling is a very good security controller, and I tend to go along with him just to keep him sweet - I am sure, with you being in the hotel business, that you also recognise the importance of holding onto good staff.

I have attached Maj Spilling's telex so you can see what a pernickety old woman he can be sometimes!


(I was getting a bit bored by this time - short attention span - and didn't particularly want to keep this going much longer...

I wasn't quite expecting this - Nelson seems to have taken the gloves off.
You friend said what is the meaning of all this stupid questions you are asking when you know that he is in need? that why cant you help him send $500 what will be his reason to send you that email if he was not in need. I myself is tired of writing emails to you because of $500. I will not write to you again if your next email does not include the correct payment information. I wonder what Kind of a company you are are, given me all stories about africa, what concerns me with africa?

Indeed, why on earth would Nelson be concerned with...Africa, of all places? Wink

Anyway, I felt we'd probably gone as far as we were going to go, so I blew the sting myself...

I have just got off the phone from my friend Mr Bullett.

I know you are lying, when you tell me you have spoken to him.

And got a surprisingly shameless response from Nelson:

Thanks for your email, what makes you think I am in kuala lampur? is it the phone number? Dont you know that this numbers are call forwarded? you seem to have no idea how the scan works. we are all sinners, even you! You just wasted my time and yours.
Good day

Dumb I might be, but I wasn't the one sending you $500, Nelson! Wink
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Baiting Guru

Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 4771
Location: Down on the (Playmobil) farm

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Very entertaining!

Hope that you didn't bait this from your real-life email account, however, or with your real name, which the first mail was sent to - scammers are criminals, and you don't want them to be able to trace anything back to your real self.

It was funny about the 'similar cases' - endless bank card thefts at or around the hotel..... Laughing

Purple Flower Mc Fry Sand Timer x14

It is your first time to use western union so therefore none can blame you. It is always like this at the first experience. - Yes lad, and at the second, and the third... you'll see.

I don't want to guess the number - But, lad, isn't that the best fun to be had with MoneyGram reference numbers?
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Master Baiter

Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 167
Location: Location: Location.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:33 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Branwen wrote:
Very entertaining!

Hope that you didn't bait this from your real-life email account, however, or with your real name, which the first mail was sent to - scammers are criminals, and you don't want them to be able to trace anything back to your real self.

No, I have a clutch of burnable email accounts that are handy for this kind of nefariousness. I did use my real first name, though, which I felt was an acceptable risk - though I've changed that policy now, too.

It was funny about the 'similar cases' - endless bank card thefts at or around the hotel..... Laughing

Yes, I wish I'd thought to pick up on that at the time. The experience was strangely...intense, though - it's surprising, looking back on it, how much stuff I didn't catch onto!

I was particularly pleased with the fake telexes, though, and I may well use a similar strategy next time I try a sting.
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