Politician Outs Blogger

I honestly cannot believe I am typing this..

Some time ago Alaskan Politician Rep Mike Doogan was sending some crazy emails to people who emailed him and AKMuckraker was one of the bloggers involved in exposing his craziness.

Apparently this did not sit well with Rep Doogan. He has been trying to find out who AKMuckraker was for several months now and he has finally managed to do it. He then sent out a message to people on his mailing list via his official legislative newsletter, advising them of the real name of AKMuckraker. It is possible that when he did this, he broke the law.

Whether or not people support AKMuckrakers opinions, I believe most people would support her right to remain anonymous. I feel it is a right that everyone on the internet is entitled to – people make the decision for their own reasons, some because they have been cyber stalked in the past, some to prevent being cyber-stalked in the future.

This may be the first known case of an anonymous blogger being cyber-stalked by a politician determined to find out their real identity and out them, though!

You can read the full story here –

In Exposing the Identity of Mudflats, Rep. Mike Doogan Exposes Himself.

There are also some other blog posts on this subject –
Progressive Alaska
Shannyn Moore
The Immoral Minority
Palin Gates
Think Alaska
We’re Not That Stupid

I have been supporting AKMuckraker for almost 6 months now – we have been hosting her blog and forums – we have a team of mods and admins who keep the forums running smoothly. I did not need to know her real name to do that (and in fact did not know her real name until today) nor did I care what her name was. I understand anonymous blogging – I do it myself for the reasons explained on my about page.

My support will not change – other than to do whatever it takes to make sure Rep Mike Doogan never wins an election again, and to also inform the worldwide media of what he has done. It is highly inappropriate.

Epic Fail, Rep Doogan. Epic Fail.

I may not be around much for the next week or so, I’ll be busy taking action on this. ;)

Angry Snoskred, anonymity, internet, Internet Safety, politics, US Elections

So you think you’re anonymous on the internet..

But.. you’re not. ;)

Let me preface this post with a little story. When I was about 16, I attended a church. One day I found an anonymous letter in my letterbox which was pretty unpleasant – *though I don’t remember any of the details now. The person thought they were anonymous, but when I gave the letter to the church pastor, he recognised the handwriting – and thus anonymous was found to be a nasty beyotch named Michelle. No offense to people named Michelle, but I’ve found it a bit hard to trust people with that name ever since. It’s not you. It’s me. Its my stuff.

So when Kelley posted on her blog that someone calling themselves “concerned” had written her a nasty letter full of unpleasantness, I commented could she please give me some information and maybe I could track down who wrote it. And because I am awesome and have mad skillz, I did manage to track down the writer. And now Kelley knows who it is, and I assume it won’t be too long before the entire interwebz knows who it is also. Word like that tends to spread.

Everywhere you go, everything you do, you leave behind a few vital details. Like your IP address, the time you visited, what browser and operating system you run. Your IP address can be used by the police and your internet service provider (and by scambaiters like me who know what they are doing) to track you down. That is how they arrested all those pedophiles not so long ago – there was a page on the internet that a lot of pedophiles visited, and the federal police came knocking on the door of the people who visited it.

For example, here is a line from a server log – me visiting Kelley’s blog and my browser grabbing her Favicon.

121.44.XX.XX – – [20/Jul/2008:11:41:34 -0500] “GET /favicon.ico HTTP/1.1” 404 25192 “-” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20080702 Firefox/”

Note – I have XX out a couple of the numbers, because I am on a static IP address and I have been on it for a decently long time, and I don’t want to give that IP address to the scammers because it can be used to do port scans and other rather nefarious activities.

So every website you visit your browser sends a whole heap of GET requests off to the server, and the majority of servers log all of this information.  Also, when you visit a blog and leave a comment, most blogging software keeps a record of the IP address. This is always worth keeping somewhere in case you need it another time – mine all go to a gmail account so I can easily search it and don’t have to worry about storage.

When you visit forums – say for example the Aussie Bloggers forums – your IP address is logged. If you were to leave a message that was abusive, the forum admins might report that to your Internet Service Provider. And for those of you who think you can use a proxy to access the forums and leave abuse – sorry, we get *both* IP addresses, the proxy and your real one. So there is nowhere to hide.

Also, interestingly, when you send emails (unless you know what you are doing like I do, otherwise I would not be emailing the scammers) your IP address will appear in the header of those emails.

So, when you think you are anonymous and you send an anonymous email to someone – say Kelley, for example – what happens if you’re not actually anonymous, and you can be traced? Well, I guess what happens is, I know who you are. And I do know who you are, Concerned. Will I tell people? Maybe I will. Hope that keeps you awake at night.

Would you like a piece of unsolicited advice “Concerned”? If I were you (which I would NEVER be, I believe anonymous letters are lame and horrible and creating bad Karma for yourself) I would confess that you did this on your blog now.  People might feel sorry for you if you do that. Probably not too many, but maybe you can manage to tell enough of a sob story that you can keep a few friends.

And here’s some more advice. Get a life. I can’t believe you spent at least 4 hours solid viewing Kelley’s website. For those of you interested, here’s just one hour of the viewing –  of course to save you headaches I have just put the time and the get request.. You need to add +10 (or so) to the actual times – so this happened between 7pm and 8pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.

[07/Jul/2008:09:02:58]    GET /page/25/ HTTP/1.1
[07/Jul/2008:09:10:06]    GET /page/26/ HTTP/1.1
[07/Jul/2008:09:17:47]    GET /page/27/ HTTP/1.1
[07/Jul/2008:09:21:09]    GET /page/28/ HTTP/1.1
[07/Jul/2008:09:28:04]    GET /page/29/ HTTP/1.1
[07/Jul/2008:09:33:18]    GET /page/30/ HTTP/1.1
[07/Jul/2008:09:39:53]    GET /page/31/ HTTP/1.1
[07/Jul/2008:09:43:53]    GET /page/32/ HTTP/1.1
[07/Jul/2008:09:48:46]    GET /page/33/ HTTP/1.1
[07/Jul/2008:09:51:05]    GET /page/34/ HTTP/1.1

This person read back 56 pages. In order. Over 24 hours. Viewing the log made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

So if you happen to have a blog that is hosted by me, and someone sends you an “anonymous” email, please contact me immediately and I will give you instructions on how to get me the info I need from the email. Whatever you do, don’t delete the email. I know that might feel like the right thing to do because when you get an email like this it feels horrible, but identifying people like this is one of the best ways to stop people from doing this kind of stuff. They might not stop with just one anonymous letter.

*I seem to be having some problems with my memory but that is a whole ‘nother post for another day.. ;)

Internet Safety

Internet Scams – How I Make A Difference.

This week the Hump Day Hmmm topic is a tricky one. How I Matter is this week’s topic. There are many subjects I could have written about but I chose the one I’ve been involved in for almost three years now – online scams, scammers, and how to protect yourself.


A Scammer Poses To Join The Holy Church Of The Sacred Butterfly

Snoskred Is Educational –

There are many email scams out there in the world. I try to educate people about some of them in order to stop them from being scammed. These scammers are criminals. If there is something I can do to stop them, I’m sure as heck going to try.

What Is An Email Scam?

There are many types of email scams but let me sum it up simply for you.

Someone you don’t know and never heard of before is contacting you by email to tell you they have money for you.

An Important Point To Remember –

NO MONEY is coming to your email inbox as a surprise.

Variations On A Scam –

Someone you don’t know and never heard of before is contacting you by email to tell you you have won the lottery.
Someone you don’t know and never heard of before is contacting you by email to tell you they need to borrow your bank account and they’ll pay you a large sum of money to do this.

Stay At Home Moms Watch Out!

Someone you don’t know is contacting you by email to tell you they have a job for you, or you apply for a work at home job on a legitimate job seeking website. You may have heard of the company because the scammers use legitimate companies to make their scams seem real. I know you want to be able to stay at home with the kids but getting scammed out of money is not going to achieve that. Always check independently if you can – don’t use the number the scammer gives you.

Online Sellers Watch Out!

Scammers often use Ebay, Craigslist and others in order to find people they can scam. Usually this will be a fake check scam but sometimes they may try to wire stolen funds into your account, use stolen paypal accounts or stolen credit cards and the list does go on. Be very careful. Get educated on the scams they try to use and how to protect yourself before you start selling.


A Scammer Poses To Show His Love For My Character

What Does Snoskred Do About It?

The number one thing I do –

is talk and get the word out – here on the blog, in the media via radio and press interviews which I have done many times in the past, on various scam victim support websites.

The second thing I do –

is hook the scammers up with a special *baiting tool, which keeps them busy with fake victims rather than real ones. Recently I have been a little busy and neglected this somewhat but I intend to get back into this over the next couple of months. It isn’t difficult. I have the tools all set up and ready to bait, I just need to hook scammers up to the machine.

The third thing I do –

is bait fake checks out of the scammers. I then contact the companies on the checks and warn them that the scammers are using their account details. Do not try this at home, ya’all. I use a safe PO box which my name is not attached to in any way to receive the mail. These scammers are criminals who have been known to kill their victims.

The fourth thing I have done –

in the past but currently am not involved in is warning actual scam victims. Some of the victim support websites receive information about people being scammed – from friends or family of the victims, law enforcement, web hosts who take down the scammers websites and sometimes from very brave people on the inside of these scammer gangs who do not like what they see – they email us victim email addresses, phone numbers or street addresses.

Some might say that I do this one to feel good about myself, that’s baloney but occasionally it does feel good when you have called at the right time to stop someone being scammed. Some might say I do it to help the victims, well that is partly true – it is a side effect.

Sometimes it works and the victims listen to me. Sometimes it does NOT work and the victims get angry and abusive towards me because they have grown to trust their scammer. That is tough to take. That is one reason I am taking a break from it right now. You can only do it so long before you burn out.

The real, deep at the heart of it, reason that I do this? To stop the scammers from making money out of people who are vulnerable. I don’t want them getting a cent from their scamming.

The fifth thing I did –

I took three months out to volunteer full time to assist when the Fraudwatchers website was launched. I truly believed in what they were doing – I still believe in it, I just had a falling out with the management there about the best way to do things – and the Fraudwatchers site sadly no longer exists.

Why We Know Our Actions Are Working –

Currently there is a major denial of service attack against several of the sites which bait scammers and sites that support scam victims. It has been going on for roughly two weeks now. They would not go to all this effort if we weren’t putting a major dent in their income. Unfortunately this means many of the scam baiting and scam victim support websites have been offline for extended amounts of time.

How You Can Help –

– Tell your family and friends about the scams, and ask them to speak to you if they ever wonder if an email might be legitimate.
– Stumble this post to get the word out about these scams to more people, if you’re a stumbler.
– Link to this article in my internet safety series which speaks about these scams.
– Ask me via email to guest post on your blog on the topic of scams to help educate your readers.
– If you know anyone who has any questions about these scams I am only an email away. However there are some great websites on the internet that try to help as well though some of them are currently offline due to denial of service attacks – Scam Victims UnitedFraud AidScamwarners Is This A Scam Forum.
– Let the readers of your blog know about the Scam-O-Matic – a web form which can look at an email and tell you if the email looks like a known scam. Is this email a scam? Ask the Scam-O-Matic
– Become a scambaiter. 419eater has a mentor program where they will train you to bait scammers safely and with no danger to yourself. I will warn you, it is an addictive hobby. :)

Further Reading –

Snoskred Made 5 MILLION DOLLARS Online This Year!
Snoskred on Fake Check Scams and Scambaiting

Snoskred’s Internet Safety Series –

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six

Over To You –

Have you ever received an email you thought might be a scam? What did you do about it? Have you known someone who was scammed out of money?

*Note – these aren’t tools that regular humans can get access to – this is something only long time scambaiters can use. So if you want to use it, get into baiting – when the time is right you’ll be given access.

fake checks, Internet Safety, job scams, scambaiting

Weekly Wrap Up 18/06/07

Welcome back to me! ;) Very relieved to be back at home, I won’t lie to ya’all. It was nice to go away but it is even nicer to return to one’s waterbed and kitties. ;)

A HUGE thank you to Sephy for helping me out here on the blog and posting the pics I emailed to him from my mobile phone which have been coming to you as a surprise over the weekend.

I have not yet logged into my google reader but I am looking forward to going in and catching up with what everyone has been up to.

So, the week in review. I talked about how things are different in the country, I had some adventures in hair dying and a lovely beach walk with photos for ya’all. One really important post I’d like to draw your attention to, written by Sephy. It’s over on his blog and it is regarding the Assassination scam. These scammers do a lot of really terrible things but this is by far the worst type of scam out there and the most scary for anyone who receives it. Thanks to Sephy posting it, a lot of people have found his blog and know it’s just the scammers trying to get money out of people they know nothing about and there’s no assassination teams watching them. It’s a huge relief for those people who received the email.

If any bloggers reading this could do us a favour and help us educate more people on these scams by linking to that post and perhaps also to my internet safety post part six which talks about those scams, that would be fantastic. In case you missed it, here’s links to Internet safety part onetwothreefourfivesix. I’m going to put this series at the top of the right sidebar for a little bit, to make it easier for people to find.

Funny search terms this week –
headache, foggy memo
email shenanigans
plane panti hose
hairy boys
animals diecan’t turn over
home hair dying green
jammed acrylic nail and lifted my real nail
why does sunscreen make acrylic nails sticky? (does it? I didn’t know this)
scary pictures of sharks and people (I know where to find this but it scared me so much I’m not telling)
rob lowe naked (yeah, I wish I knew where to find that too!)

And a lot of Morten Harket queries.. ;) Morten Harket was the number one search term this week.
is morten harket gay? (You’d have to ask him, I’m voting no but he does wear a lot of leather so I can understand the general confusion)
is morten harket married? (He was, yes)
morten harket and his wife
morten harket naked pics (sorry, I don’t have any, if you find them let ME know!)
how tall is morten harket

We’re still averaging 700 unique visitors a week here – that doesn’t count return visits during the week. I am still in the middle of the blogging chicks commenting challenge but didn’t get too much done last week thanks to the trip, so hopefully this week I’ll get busy. :)

So things are back to normal with me returning home, and you can look forward to some quality blogging this week as well as lovely photos of Ikea purchases and the Sydney Harbor Bridge at night. I’m hoping to write another blog about differences between the country and city this week, as well as something about vertigo and pilots. No, that won’t be as boring as it sounds. ;)

Internet Safety, Morten Harket, weekly wrap up

Internet Scams

A commenter on the past post wrote –

OMG, anyone dumb enough to fall for these so called ‘scams’ almost deserve it. If you fall for this, eventually you are gonna give your money away to someone, why not them?

How can someone be so naive about these e-mails etc and think they are real? i mean come on, where have you been the last 20 years?????

It’s a simple matter of education. A lot of the people scammed are elderly or not computer literate. They are new to the internet, and they do not know these things have been around for 20 years. It is interesting to me that many people want to place the blame on the victim of this crime rather than on the *criminals* who trick people.

The lottery scams are probably the most successful for the scammers as far as easy fast money. Many people are already of the belief that they will win Lotto at some point during their life. They believe it will happen and some of them buy a lot of lotto tickets for many different lotteries. When they get this email all rational thought goes out of their head, and all they think is “I knew it would happen one day, and finally all my dreams have come true”.

And note that in some countries, you can actually get an email from the lotto company telling you that you have won – the UK lottery companies do this as well as other countries. Of course, you have to buy a ticket for it to be legitimate. These scammers are good at what they do. So good that they will cover a lot of the questions you might have in their first email. For example – from the lotto scams repository

An exclusive list of email addresses of thousands of individual and corporate bodies were picked by automated random computer search from the internet. No tickets were sold.

The victims reply to the scammer and usually several emails go back and forward before they are told of any fees. The amount will always be small, and it will sound reasonable – oh, I only have to pay $100 in courier fees to get my check? Oh, they want to send it by courier so it will be safe and not get stolen? Well, it’s a small price to pay to get the millions I have won. And in their heads, they have already SPENT that money. In fact they’ve spent it long before that email arrives – I know I have plans for my $20 million dollar win, don’t you?

Once the first $100 is paid, they might have a problem with customs letting the courier into the country, they might have to pay taxes, there’s plenty of different tricks the scammers use. This time the amount will be more, maybe $600-1000. Again, the victim thinks – it’s a small price to pay to get my money. The victim will probably try to negotiate with the scammer to pay less – can you take it out of the money once I get my winnings, I don’t have enough to pay that right now but I can pay and give you the rest when I get my winnings. And of course the scammer will take anything the victim will give.

They might then refer the victim to a fake bank website. These can look extremely real. The victim gives all their banking information to the scammers. The scammers use that information to make fake checks in the victim’s name, and they may have got credit card info as well, which they will have shared and/or sold to other scammers. They may send a file to the victim which contains a keylogger.

If the victim does not cooperate, they will often be threatened. We have all your information. We know where you live. Pay up or we’ll send someone around. This can be especially upsetting to elderly victims.

The scammers use email extractor programs to retrieve email addresses from the internet. They are especially keen on countries which do not have a good understanding of English. India seems to be the current favourite of the scammers, Russia and Asia are always popular. They will send out *thousands* of emails over the course of a day, and they usually get about a 10% reply rate but higher in non-english speaking countries. They do this each day. Except Sundays, when they go to Church in the morning with all their scammer friends, then back to the internet cafes in the afternoon for a little more spamming and scamming.

The thing people don’t understand about this scam is that the victims get emotionally and financially invested in them. It seems so obvious that it’s a scam to those of us educated on the topic but they are not looking at it logically like we are.

I really dislike it when people seem to feel morally or intellectually superior to victims of these scams. It can happen to *anyone* who doesn’t know about them. That is a large amount of people on this planet.

Nobody deserves to be scammed. Absolutely nobody.

Internet Safety, scam victims are not stupid, scambaiting

Site Meters.

Chani, close your eyes, because I have to talk about sitemeters for a minute. Sitemeter, the thing I use to keep an eye on who is coming here and how they’re getting here, seems to have changed things on their site and in fact it does not work at all in Firefox for me. I opened up Microsoft Internet Explorer (shudder) to see if it still worked and it did but they’d installed a bunch of things like flash on the site, and I HATE flash with a passion.

Never fear, for I have a backup plan. When it comes to trackers they are fairly unreliable. I actually had two here on the site, sitemeter and stat counter, and never the two did agree. In fact sometimes they had serious disagreements. I could understand if maybe one had 10 more visitors than the other, but sometimes we are talking differences of 100 or more. And considering both these counters only show you the last 100 visits, it did get annoying.

Never fear my friends for as always, Google has a solution. Google Analytics. And as always when these things happen I am one of the last to know and get on the boat. I am really happy about this new development because of the 419 blogs that we have. They’re 419 Letter Repository, Job Scam Repository, Lotto Scam Repository and Miscellaneous Scam Repository.

These sites get a LOT of hits. Let’s take a look at the Lotto Scam Repository. Since January 1 this year, there have been 28,298 unique visitors on the site with 40,931 page loads. And a lot of these visitors get there by searching for scammer email addresses, scammer telephone numbers, the names scammers use in lotteries. For example –

7 lottoscams.blogspot.com
6 staatspromonl
4 barrister desmond oconnor
4 (mrs.) angella richardson (program co-coordinator.)
3 vodafone.nl vodafone stake incorporation
2 euromilliones2007
2 coventry lottery leiden
2 for: smith carpenter afro-asian zonal cordinator. bigtime lotto in
1 1.64% agentelizabethgary01 tel #
1 seat automobile e-mail promotion
1 do an national australianlottery exist like lotto australia
1 lotto bill gates 1 000 000 gbp
1 bv powerball lottery e-wheel e-game 2007
1 eu lotto from telephone
1 microsoft winning notification
1 hans-peter schössler
1 microsoft award teammicrosoft corporation #1 microsoft wayredmond, wa 98052.
1 australian lottery board
1 your email address has won the uk national lottery games!!!
1 italian superenalotto 2007/winning notification !!!
1 microsoft uk promotions
1 agentelizabethgary01@ tel #
1 online lottery 2007 webnet national/international lottery
1 microsoft_agent230 @yahoo.co.uk
1 awareness promotional lottery
1 florina_215 @hotmail.com
1 new about bmw lottery international programs held on the 8th of may 2007 in london uk.
1 the board of directors, members and staff of the inte
1 yahoo/microsoft promotions {congratulations you are a winner} !!! …
1 gameboardcente @aim.com
1 alyson & associates u.k
1 the free lotto company snopes
1 yahoo award winning notification ; your email adress emerged as a
1 grupo bilbao security company sl
1 uk online lottery raffle draw held on may 1st, 2007.
1 guiness stout promotion agent
1 rsa canada lottery prize claim form
1 dayzers lottery headquarters
1 peugeot auto-mobiles headquarters, 19 ul,

But these trackers *only* track the last 100 visits. And for a while there we tried to keep track of the search terms – while the traffic was low we could visit once a day and copy and paste what you see above into a spreadsheet. However now, this site is getting anywhere between 200-500 unique visitors a day. It’s not possible to keep track – you’d have to log in every 4 hours or so to make sure you have the info. Of course you can have more than the last 100 visits tracked but it costs money – and I’m already spending plenty on internet related things like domain names and various other things.

But now, google analytics is going to solve this problem for me, and I am really excited about it. Being able to see this kind of information will really help us know how we can help scam victims better find out that they are being scammed.

The reason we created those 419 scam mail blogs was simply so that a scam victim could google things that appear in scammer mails and it would come back with the word scam. If you look for most of those terms you’ll find them on other sites as well, like Joe Wein’s fantastic site. In fact Joe Wein runs a huge scammer blacklist of email addresses which daily saves victims from being scammed. He’s also extremely helpful to us baiters. ;)

It was a massive headache to get the blogs working right, we had all kinds of issues with mail to blogger, we at one stage were posting things manually to the blog, it still gets a lot more mail than actually gets published there, and google sends a lot of the scam mail to the spam trap, which means it doesn’t get published.

If you get scam emails, please don’t just delete them. You can put them into Joe Wein’s Scam-o-matic or you can have a look here to see how to forward them to him. You’re probably getting scam mails that we don’t get – and by putting them into the scam-o-matic and having those scammers blacklisted you too can help prevent victims being scammed.

Internet Safety, scambaiting, scams

Internet Safety & Scams – What You Need To Know.

Everybody wants something,
they’ll never give up.
Everybody wants something,
they’ll take your money and never give up.

The lyrics above may be familiar to fans of Degrassi, a long ago tv show. However they apply on a daily basis when you are on the internet.

As I type this right now there are over 100,000 people, most of them in Nigeria but also in other countries all over the world including the US and UK who wake up in the morning and their day job is to SCAM people. Yes, that is what they do for a living. And some of them do it so well, their lifestyle includes gold chains and BMW’s.

So here’s a few things you should know about internet scammers. First of all, the golden rule.


Never, not ever, no way, no how. :)

The Next Of Kin, or Advance Fee Fraud scam.

This message may come as a surprise to you, but there are no wives of dead world leaders with trunkboxes full of money that they want to share with you if only you will help them. There is nobody in Africa with a large fund that needs to go into your bank account. Nobody over there has cancer and a large fund that they’d like you to give to charity. Nobody really wants you to stand in as next of kin. What they want is your money, and they’ll never give up.

How these scams work is, they tempt you with large sums of money. Then there’s a small fee that must be paid. Then there’s another, and another, and another. I recently spoke to a victim who has been paying his scammers for *five* years.

And people say oh, how can anyone be so stupid? It’s because they invested, emotionally and financially into the scam and they find it very difficult to stop. It is like gambling, only you’ll never win with these scammers. Here is a good article which gives you a bit of info on how these scams work – The Perfect Mark


Once they know you exist, you’ll get every scam email known to man, and they will keep trying in the hope you will fall for one of them. So you’ll get scam emails until the end of time.

The JOB scam.

This particular scam is becoming more and more popular, especially in Australia. Who wouldn’t like a bit of easy money? You get an email that offers you a job as a company representative. If you take the job, you will receive fraudulent or possibly stolen cheques from the scammers. You put them in your bank, the bank will “clear” them and then you send the money back to the scammer, usually by Western Union or Moneygram. The only trouble is, “clear” means nothing.

Please note this quote in this article by the executive vice-president of the American Banking Association: “Federal law requires banks to make the funds you deposit available quickly, but it’s important for consumers to know that just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the cheque is good,” said Edward Yingling, executive vice president for ABA.”

That applies equally to all countries that we know of – Australia also. Just because the bank “clears” the cheque does not mean the money is really there for you to spend. It can take up to a YEAR for a cheque to bounce.

In the US, scam victims are often ARRESTED for banking the fake cheques. This adds insult to often serious financial injury!

As a scambaiter, I have a safe mailing address where the scammers post me things, and I have quite a collection of these fake checks. Take a look here. There is over 3 million dollars worth of fake checks there. Don’t try this at home people, it isn’t safe. You can learn how to do it safely, if you want to know where email me.

The Lottery Scam.

You get an email telling you that you have won the lottery! How many people dream of winning lotto, quitting work, having a life of travel and luxury. So you’re pretty excited, and you reply saying “How can I get my winnings?” – it’s simple. Just pay a small payment. But that won’t be the end of the payments, and you haven’t won lotto at all, and you’ll never see any money or be able to quit work, in fact you might have to work more to make up for the money you send.

I believe this scam is one of the most unpleasant of them all – it gives people hope, and then crushes it into little pieces. :(

There’s a lot more scams. Love. Ebay. Rental. Puppy. Children. Donations. And while I write this these scammers are coming up with new and better ways to scam people out of their money. Joe Wein’s website lists many of the types of scams and how they work. Joe is also an incredibly nice guy who has helped me with an incredible amount of stuff all designed to hurt the scammers.

You can report any scam mail you receive and check to see if it is a scam by using the Scam-O-Matic – all mails from scammers that you submit are added to the blacklist which helps scam victims find out that it’s a scam.

My advice is to keep up to date with the scams, and if you ever have any questions visit Scamwarners Is This A Scam forum and ask – is this a scam?

If you have any questions I am only ever an email away – Contact Snoskred – and always willing to help when it comes to this kind of thing. ;)

email safety, Internet Safety, scam victims are not stupid, scams

Internet Safety Part Five- Phishing

Here’s another highly important rule which all internet users need to know.


Once you have memorised this rule, make sure you clue your family and friends in on it as well. This rule can save you serious money as well as heartache.

Why is it so important?

There’s bad people out there in the world who would like to get things from you and one way they can achieve this is by getting *you* to give them your username, login, and credit card information.

How do they do it?

They try to fool you. They send you emails from ebay, paypal, all kinds of banks, credit card companies, internet service providers (AOL has been a target for this since the early 90’s) as well as many other companies which tell you that you need to log in to do something – they might say your account has been compromised or that you need to log in to confirm your details or a truckload of other things. There’s so many variables on this that they can use, and they are working 24/7 to make their emails more believable so that more people fall for them.

What they are hoping is that you have an account with that company, and that you will panic and click on the link in the email. When you do, it takes you to a website the scammers have set up, not the actual website of the company you think sent you the email. Some of these can be so realistic that even people who *work* for that company cannot tell the difference between the real website and the fake one.

So how do I make sure I don’t fall for them?

If you follow the rule of never click on a link in your email you’ve got a very good chance of making sure you don’t fall for them. If you have an account with any company you receive an email from and you get one of these emails, type the URL of the company into your location bar yourself, and log in to the REAL website instead of their fake website.

NOTE – Just clicking on the link can install nasty software on your computer. So again, NEVER click on a link sent to your email, even if you think it is from friends or family!

What happens to the information people enter onto one of these fake sites?

Generally it is saved to a text file which is online at the website they have put up, every time someone submits information the text file is updated. From time to time, the victim support groups that I volunteer with are given text files from web hosts and legal authorities who have shut down these phishing sites and we are asked to pick through the text and warn the victims. I’ll tell you, this is a nightmare job and very time consuming. The text files are full of peoples personal information, from names, addresses, email addresses, passwords, credit card numbers.. and you would be surprised how many people get caught by this.

More on phishing and other scams can be found here – http://www.fraudwatchers.org and there is an excellent wikipedia on this topic here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing – Also google is your friend. ;)

email safety, Internet Safety

Internet Safety Part 4 – Use BCC

From yesterday’s post, Em had a question –

What is your opinion of spam filters. My gmail one seems to work quite well and the spam doesn’t bother me because I don’t see it…

I’ve got about 40 gmail accounts actually. ;) Being a scambaiter, you tend to have a lot of email addresses. The spam stuff, like viagra and cialis and people trying to sell you stuff, gmail does reasonably well with. However, they do NOT do as well with the *scam* emails, and also phishing gets through on a regular basis.

You might not be getting much in the way of spam as yet, but if you have an email address which is anywhere out there on the internet, it will be coming to you as a surprise some time in the future. WHich leads me to an important point – *always* protect your email address by writing it like this – emailme at email dot com – mine you can see in the sidebar and it looks like this –

snoskred {at} gmail {dot} com

Here’s a screenshot from one of my email accounts which is on a scam blog. The people emailing it do not know it is on a scam blog because they use an email extractor program to get the addresses.


The emails you see there arrived over the space of less than an hour. That account regularly receives around 40 emails per hour. That’s 960 emails a day. Can you imagine how this would mess up your inbox? ;)

For most people, a single gmail account with a spam filter might work just fine – until someone gives out your email address somewhere. It’ll start out being 3-4 spam emails a day, and keep going upwards until you want to throw things at people you’re getting so much of it. If you have one email account which you use for everything, it’s a real nightmare when that happens. And you would be surprised at whom is doing what with your email address as we speak.

I’ve done a lot of email warnings to scam victims over the years, and many times some of these people have decided I am their friend and added me to their forwards list. They then send me any “joke” or “inspirational” email that they stumble across during their interweb travels. The trouble is, they add all the email addresses as “cc” – carbon copy, which means me and everyone else who got the mail can see who it was sent to! That means, if a scammer or spammer gets their hands on it, they have a bunch of new targets to email.

So there’s the lesson for today – use BCC when you want to email to more than one person. *Blind* carbon copy – it means nobody else can see who you sent that mail to.

The reason I am suggesting the email plan rather than just one gmail account is because if you break it down into groups it is much less of a hassle when that account is compromised. I say when because it is highly likely to happen. :( Spam and Scam is getting worse, and there really isn’t much that can be done to stop it, so it is much better to be prepared. ;)

I hope that answers the question. :)

email safety, internet, Internet Safety, scams, spam, www safety

Part Three – The IP address.

I’m not going to get all technical on you. I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible. It’s not really a huge deal but it’s good info to know.

As you cruise around the internet, you are giving some basic information to the sites that you visit. Generally, it is stuff that will not identify you personally in any way, like what kind of web browser you use, what kind of operating system your computer runs. However, there is one thing that you can be “traced” by – your IP address.

When you connect to the internet, you login with your username and password (you may not do this manually anymore, but it still happens) and then your internet service provider (ISP) gives you an IP number from their pool of numbers.

So realistically the closest anyone can get to you personally is to know what ISP you are using, and which state/country that ISP is in. Each time you send an email, your IP address goes out with that email, which makes you traceable back to your ISP. When you post on a forum, the forum logs your IP address.

For most this is a reasonable level of security. If you did something wrong, the police could ask your ISP for your details, I’m no legal expert but they’d need some kind of court order as far as I know. ISPs have to keep logs of who is using what IP address when, so you can be identified later on. Otherwise, that information is supposed to remain strictly confidential. People who work for the company could probably out who you are, but that would be about it.

For a scambaiter like me, it’s not really enough given that the people I’m emailing are criminals, and I don’t know anyone personally at my ISP – so who knows how safe my real info is? But thankfully free email providers like gmail and fastmail *hide* your IP address for you. Which is yet another reason I recommend gmail – if it’s secure enough for me, it’s secure enough for anyone. ;)

Do you want to see your IP address? Click here. It may also give you a location, and the location might be close or it might be way off. ;)

I guess the important thing to remember is, people can be traced if they do enough wrong to get the police interested and a court order issued. It’s good to keep that in mind.

email safety, Internet Safety