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 Can someone give me an example of the 'smart' scams?

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ordinaryday
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:29 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I have heard people say that some Nigerian scams are actually quite sophisticated and can fool even the 'smartest' people - firstly, even if that is the case simply follow one rule: NEVER ever respond or attempt to do business or to ANYONE who emails you and mentions they live in Nigeria. the MOMENT they say they are in Nigeria you can say with 100% certainty that they are a scammer.

But anyway... I have heard people say that not all scams from there are obvious scams with the tell-tale scam signs - attrocious spelling and grammar for someone who claims to be working in a professional field, no use of the word 'i', etc, someone who claims to be working as a doctor, nurse, engineer, whatever needs money from a complete stranger, when if they really worked in that role they would make a decnet living.

So what are the kinds of scams that are 'sophisticated' scams, as opposed to the really obvious ones? do they use scripts that CAN'T be found on scambusting sites? do they actually have a thorough grasp of spelling and grammar?

Or is it 'no' to both of those, but they just manage to find people who fall for them for whatever reason? are there any 'sophisticated' scams that don't scream 'scam' the moment you see it?
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Vampiremerchant
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:58 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome to the site... Laughing

Quote:
are there any 'sophisticated' scams that don't scream 'scam' the moment you see it?


Some of the scams can be quite convincing, to us and the people over at Scamwarners, we can generally tell if it is a scam at a glance, however some victims have the need to believe (for whatever reason) in the lies that the scammers are spinning.

Quote:
the MOMENT they say they are in Nigeria you can say with 100% certainty that they are a scammer.


Not necessarily true, remember there are a lot of genuine businesses in Nigeria who have nothing to do with scams at all.

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Ima Baeder
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:21 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Please see VM's point about not all Nigerians being scammers. That said, many of the scammers are not claiming to operate out of Nigeria. Many of them pretend to be in the UK (some are actually located in the UK). They also operate out of Canada, Amsterdam, etc.
Many victims are losing money to scams that they're happening across in the course of trying to conduct business online, not because they answered an email about millions that they received out of the blue.
The pet scams, rental scams and auction site scams operate this way.
Here's an article written by a NYTimes columnist who was a victim of a rental scam: http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/burned-a-london-vacation-rental-scam/

One of the more sophisticated scams is the debt collection scam - which targets lawyers and debt collection agencies.
Here is something written quite a while ago about this type of scam, by someone from a debt collection agency: http://www.scamwarners.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2379
More on debt collection scams here: http://www.scamwarners.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=6195
There are also the scams which target the hospitality industry - fake reservations. They're not nearly as easy to spot as a dying widow of a cocoa merchant. Scams targeting businesses are here, though many of those examples are fake order scams or commodities type of scams: http://www.scamwarners.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=43

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Rowan
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:01 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Here's one that landed in my personal email's spam folder just the other day. I have no idea why; I'm not a law firm.

Quote:
Dear [Law Firm Name],

I live in South Korea while My ex spouse Shin Young lives in [Blue Dakota]. As a result of time difference it is a little bit difficult to reach you. We were divorced in South Korea but my ex husband Shin Young relocated to the United States. He is now a citizen. We both agreed to a Separation Agreement that was incorporated, merged into and made part of the court decree for a settlement of Child Support, Spousal Support, and Medical Support of $941,100.00. He has paid me $270,500.00 but still owes me $670,600.00 and the stipulated time for completion of payment has long elapsed. This is the reason why I contacted you as there is already an agreement in place. I know for sure my ex husband has the financial means to pay for balance he owes me. Thus, I request your legal services to enforce the court order compelling him to remit balance owed me. Attached is a copy of the terms of separation agreement, and the Court's Decree (i.e. Divorce Decree) and I will be pleased to provide further information on this case on request. I expect this to be resolved in a timely manner. If you are willing to proceed kindly send me a copy of your retainer agreement and if the terms are acceptable I will sign so we can commence the process without delay.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation and professionalism.
Yours truly,
Harmony Young
[redacting address just in case it's some ITP's]
Seoul, Korea


It looks pretty legit if the legal professional doesn't pick up on subtle red flags, like the fact that these people were divorced in South Korea, but the divorce process described mimics an American divorce (plus the support's unusually high, but I guess you really couldn't tell much from that, being a foreign country). The decree was in English. I'd think she'd send the original decree that was written in Korean and an English translation. Also, the couple's last name and her first name aren't exactly of an Asian nature. South Korea has developed a romanized version of their language, so they wouldn't use a true English translation of their names. "Young" would be spelled "Yeong" or "Yong" instead. I have no clue if "Harmony" is used as a woman's given name, what it would look like in romanized Korean or if "Shin" is used as man's given name.

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vonpaso xlura
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:07 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I bought a computer a few months ago from a company in England and am buying another one. The guy told me to send a wire transfer to a certain account. I called my bank, was given a warning about scams, and found out the transfer fee, which is too much compared to PayPal, so I paid by PayPal instead. Then I looked up this man's name, since I could not place it. He is Nigerian. And he is not a scammer.

Scammers are concentrated in a region from Senegal to Cameroon. The absolute concentration is not high. They seem to be concentrated in Nigeria because it's the most populous country in the region.

There are also scammers in Eastern Europe.

I once baited someone in Ivory Coast who was obviously not Ivorian. He was playing Helline James, who sent messages in bad Spanish machine-translated from English. He did not know French; if an Ivorian knows any European language, he normally knows French.

Another kind of scam that may not be immediately obvious is the conference scam. The scammer advertises a fake conference and gets people to register for it and book rooms at a nonexistent hotel or a fake copy of a real hotel's website.

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Capone
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:06 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The law firm debt collection scam is very common: scammers appear to be mass mailing from the Bar Journal data base. Not only child support claims are involved, but commercial debt collection claims with fairly realistic looking judgements.

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Big Al
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:22 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The US Airlines scam I posted at SS looks pretty sophisticated. They send out very official looking letters.

http://scamsurvivors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7099&p=24573&hilit=us+airlines#p24573
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ordinaryday
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:22 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the responses guys! I still don't get how people would fall for a scam, but some of the responses I have gotten are marginally more convincing than the fifty inboxes I get a week from women in Nigeria and Russia, with absolutely atrocious spelling and grammar, declaring their love for me.

I want to know how these scammers can sleep at night, doing what they do, because not only do they financially ruin several of their victims, they often break their hearts and severely damage their self-esteem as well. How can they do it - I suppose the answer is simple: some people have no conscience.
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ordinaryday
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:33 am Reply with quoteBack to top

And when I first started using dating sites I was not fluent in dating scams - I knew they existed but I did not realise how common they were.

I got messaged from a woman in Russia who claimed to live in my state, work as a nurse, and we started chatting and her letters to me were quite sophisticated - she always addressed me by name, wrote long flowery letters to me, etc.

A few things stood out as odd though - she claimed to work standard 9 - 5 type hours, yet whenever I got an email from her it would usually be at like 2 or 3 in the morning, when most day workers are deep in sleep - it was inconsistent for someone who claimed to live in my state and work regular hours.

She also claimed to fall in love with me WAY TOO FAST, after about three emails, and we never even spoke on the phone - I know how attraction and love works, people don't fall in love with complete strangers after exchanging three emails - well 'normal' people don't!

I got suspicious and copied and pasted lines in her email to me and did a google search on them - it came up WORD FOR WORD and a scambusting site. and I read the rest of the scam letters, online, and I was amazed at how well-thought out it was - in the letters the scammer says she has to go back to Russia for a family emergency (obviously to explain later on why you have to wire the money to Russia) and then a few emails later gives flight numbers and flight times and airport departure lounges for where she will meet you 'at the airport'. then in the following email she says that there is a 'problem' with a unit they have that they owe money on which needs to be paid, and that until she finds '$6100' she can't leave Russia, because she needs to solve the problem with the unit... and then obviously the victim is meant to offer to pay, and if he does he will never hear from her again!

It was very sophisticated, but not without red flags, such as claiming to live in the same state as me but always emailing me at 2 and 3 am, when most people here are asleep - I can easily understand how someone who was impressionable or lonely or not thinking clearly would fall for it. I am just suspicious by nature so it was ALWAYS at the back of my mind, even when I did not know for certain, that it might be a scam.

I sent her back an email telling her i was aware she was a scammer and that if she ever contacted me again i would report her to the police - an empty threat (undoubtedly the name and photos she sent me were fake) but it shut her up, never heard from her again.

So I can sort of see how impressionable people fall for these things - I think when using the internet you need to be suspicious by nature!
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Karl_Ranseier
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Victims believe because they want to believe.
Often they have a financial crisis and are desperate enough to take every offer. They don't see the flaws in the scammers story, because they don't want to see it.

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ordinaryday
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:07 am Reply with quoteBack to top

So true, Karl. I have googled news stories about people who were scammed, and often there are interviews with family/friends who KNEW IT WAS A SCAM and told the person repeatedly that THEY WERE DEALING WITH A SCAMMER, and yet it was like arguing with a brick wall - the person just ignored them, or even worse got angry at them and attacked them for "trying to come between us" or something. sadly, you can only help people who will allow themselves to be helped!
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next victim
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
people don't fall in love with complete strangers after exchanging three emails


Derrick does but then he is not very normal! For some reason his falling in love has something to do with my mood at the time. Strange fellow, that one!

I do a lot of baiting on those daters because of what they do to people. Being taken for your money is bad enough but adding a persons emotions into it is even worse for the victim. Some are very good at what they do and willing to be patient before they actually gt to the money part. Some will come right out in the first mail or 3 and ask for it. Not sophisticated by any means but I would bet they make up for that in volume.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

ordinaryday wrote:
with absolutely atrocious spelling and grammar, declaring their love for me.


Unfortunately not everyone in the US, UK, Oz etc are fully literate and some of the scammers are proficient in English.

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Ima Baeder
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

ordinaryday wrote:
often there are interviews with family/friends who KNEW IT WAS A SCAM and told the person repeatedly that THEY WERE DEALING WITH A SCAMMER, and yet it was like arguing with a brick wall - the person just ignored them, or even worse got angry at them and attacked them for "trying to come between us" or something.


This happens a lot - scammers specifically try to distance the victim from anyone who will help them get out of the scam. Victims aren't stupid - they see the warning signs sometimes. The scammers explain them away enough to get the victim go continue despite the nagging feeling that something isn't right. http://www.antiscamnews.com/scammer-tactics

While I do think this is a worthwhile discussion, please keep in mind that we have no tolerance for posts harshly judging victims. No one deserves to be scammed. If you start to judge victims' "worthiness", it's a slippery slope. The fault of the crime is solely on the criminal.
Think of it this way - is it easier for a mugger to mug an old lady than a physically fit young man? Sure. Does she deserve it for being slow? No, and definitely not moreso than the fit young man.

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Capone
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Anyone can be scammed. It just takes the right combination of what the victim needs and what the scammer offers.

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Vampiremerchant
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:08 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
I want to know how these scammers can sleep at night


Many scammers actually believe that what they are doing is no more than a job, and seem to have no concept of how illegal scamming is.

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the vampire
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:37 am Reply with quoteBack to top

What Capone writes hits the nail on the head.

Also what VM wrote is true, combined with the fact they just shut off their conscience by telling themselves that their victims are rich, so it doesn't harm the victims.

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Rowan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Capone wrote:
The law firm debt collection scam is very common: scammers appear to be mass mailing from the Bar Journal data base. Not only child support claims are involved, but commercial debt collection claims with fairly realistic looking judgements.


They don't limit themselves to the bars, if they can get the information. I got a lot of scammer crap in my school email account. A lot of property stuff, like "My deceased uncle who lived in Timbuktu owned land in Blue Dakota that we need to probate. Can you help me out?" Oddly I don't get it in my work email, even though that's out there on the internet. Filters can't keep out everything. I wonder if they hit up students of other scammable professions?

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