Scam Advice.


I received an email today from someone in the USA who had found my fake check article and wanted to know if they were being scammed. As soon as they told me what was going on, I knew the answer was yes. Luckily, they had not received the check yet, and they will not be depositing it when they do. This scammer will be hearing from me as a surprise, instead..

I asked the scam victim to forward on the emails to me, so that I could post them here – this way any other potential victims can find these details and know right away that it is a scam.

Scammer Email #1

From: DONALD CRAIG {} (1)
Date: Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 2:50 PM
To: (2)

If you are organized and honest, you can make three hundred dollars
($350) (3) a week, as a business assistant.Reply for more details .

Please all replies should be forwarded to

And please include your phone number.

Donald Craig

Warning Signs #1

So, let us take a quick look at the clues here which point to this being a scam.

1. Donald Craig is emailing from one address ( and asking people to reply to a different address ( – Scammers do this because there is a very good chance the email address they are spamming people from will be closed down.

2. There is no name or email address in the To field. This gives the sign it is being blasted to multiple email accounts at the same time.

3. You can make three hundred dollars ($350) <-- one of these is not the same as the other. :) The person replied to the email with a brief note saying they were interested and they would like to know more. They received this reply -

Scammer Email #2

From: Donald Criag (1) <>

Hello {NAME},

Thank you for your reply.

Here is a brief overview of who we are and what we do. We are a Europe (2) based company, offering business consultancy services to numerous clients across the globe like auditing, accounting, investment counsels and particularly offshore incorporation services. You can read more about us below:

Snoskred deleted the link as these sites can sometimes contain malware and simply will say Connected Sky is the name of the website.

With an increase in our customers from different parts of the globe, the expansion of the company has made it essential in recent times to employ part-time representatives (reps) in different geographic locations where we render service. The current expansion is what has created job opportunities like this for people like you.

We currently have 12 agents i.e. certified accountants in the United States AND CANADA (3) working for the company. These agents periodically require materials like envelopes, files and stamps to carry out their daily job.
They shall email you whenever they need these materials and also state precisely which type of materials and the quantity they shall need.

Your job as a ‘rep’ is to contact the supplier through email to make orders for the materials requested for and also state the quantity that should be mailed to the agents address through post. (A standard supplier has been contracted to be making available these materials)

An agent can only order for materials once a week.

It has become quite untidy having 12 different agents, contacting different suppliers at different times for materials. It has not brought about accurate accountability for (ConnectedSky). We are employing you so all agents place their order with one person- You, and the supplier gets the orders placed, from that same person- You.
Having an employee like this in place would bring about precise accountability for the company, as we get to know what is been ordered and what is been supplied, and plus it saves us time. You shall be keeping a record of what an agent orders, and also a record of what you ask the supplier to provide. (Of course the logs have to match, as you are expected to ask from the supplier only what the agents’ demand).

Please note that all costs of supplies, shall be handled by the company, and at no time whatsoever shall you be asked by (ConnectedSky) to pay any charges or hidden fees- NO!.

Salary/wages payment: $350 weekly will be paid to you in form of cheque.

Just like we said, it is a flexible online/ ’work from home’ job compatible even with undergraduates as it does not require having a college degree, so long as you are computer literate, you have an email and you can keep records.

Agents will only contact you for materials during the weekdays.

We will always email you guidelines and instructions to follow in getting your job done perfectly when you start working.

If you still care to proceed with the job, get back to us with your information listed below then we can proceed from there.

1, NAME: (4)
7, AGE:
8, SEX:

Please all replies should be forwarded to (5)

And please include your phone number and all replies should be forwarded to this email

And you can reach me on this number 7072603466

I will be waiting to hear from you soon.



Warning Signs #2

So what clues have we been provided in this email?

1. Donald Criag – most people know how to spell their own name. If it is mis-spelled, chances are, this is not their real name.

2. Europe is not a country. Real companies would say they are based in COUNTRY not CONTINENT. EG We are based in Germany.

3. Capital letters as a surprise out of nowhere are a dead giveaway.

4. The part with 1, NAME: – if you ever receive an email that asks you to supply details in that kind of format, you can be certain that it is a scam. No legit employer would ever ask for your details in this manner.

5. Please all replies should be forwarded to blank? Forget to put something in there, did you, scammer?

If you go to the supplied website, it looks legit until you do some googling and then you discover that other sites out there have the exact same text.

Google A Line Of Text

Taking lines of text from this email and searching for them can be quite interesting. For example this line –

Please note that all costs of supplies, shall be handled by the company, and at no time whatsoever shall you be asked by (ConnectedSky) to pay any charges or hidden fees- NO!

comes back with these results – and you’ll quickly note the brackets contain many and varied company names within the exact same sentence –

Please note that all costs of supplies, shall be handled by the company, and at no time whatsoever shall you be asked by (sovereigngroup Ltd) to pay any charges or hidden fees- NO!

Please note that all costs of supplies, shall be handled by the company, and at no time whatsoever shall you be asked by (HI Audit Kyriacou & Partners) to pay any charges or hidden fees- NO!

Please note that all costs of supplies, shall be handled by the company, and at no time whatsoever shall you be asked by (Global Consultants) to pay any charges or hidden fees- NO!

Please note that all costs of supplies, shall be handled by the company, and at no time whatsoever shall you be asked by C&N to pay any charges or hidden fees- NO! – in this case there are no brackets, this scammer is likely the one who wrote the “script” to begin with.

What Script?

Scammers work on a script. When one of their gang finds the script to be successful, they will pass it on to other gang members who will use it – just changing their name, email address, phone numbers and the company name.

Scammer Email #3

Hello {name},

Thank you for the reply.

Your Details have been taken down and passed over to the admin. They have processed and reviewed your application so you can begin work immediately.

Please be informed that you will be working as the company’s representative in your location. Nothing hectic, as your recruit manager I’ll be giving you guidance every step of the way and attending to your every question until you get the complete hang of it.

Secondly, at this juncture I need to know through which channel, would you prefer receiving your salary- via check or via direct deposit?

We usually recommend paying via check, and I advise you select that also. As a straightforward and transparency principle, this way we can keep the working relationship as open and as simple as possible. (It is also via cheque (1) payments that the company shall fund you the money needed for ordering materials, which you shall pay to the supplier).

Note that your first salary shall be prepaid, (2) which means that your salary shall be included in the first check you receive and you will be paid as you start. Your salary after that shall be paid weekly, on Fridays.

Lastly, let me know if you can get started this week?

And please include your phone number and all replies should be forwarded to this email

And you can reach me on this number 7072603466 (3)

I will be waiting to hear from you soon.


Donald Craig

Warning Signs #3

1. Note the two different spellings of check & cheque. It is spelled cheque in my own country but most of the scam victims I speak with are in the USA. I’ve often struggled to make sure I spell it as check myself and I am not trying to scam anyone. :)

2. They are going to give you money for doing nothing? Prepaid salary is not something legitimate jobs do.

3. Why is the phone number on the web site for Cyprus, and this one is for the USA? Both numbers divert to Nigeria, via a redirection service, by the way.

Scammer Email #4

Hello {name},

I got the response from the admin department earlier today and all your details with the company have been entered on there.

Please be notified that the company would be sending you a cheque to the residential address which you provided for you to purchase the necessary materials that our agents have been placing orders for.

The company shall also include in the cheque, your first salary of $350.

Note that your other salaries after this shall be paid at the end of the week- on Fridays.

The cheque shall be forwarded to you via courier and which begins this week Tuesday

Feel free to ask any questions and kindly stay close to your email, as I shall be mailing you at intervals.

Please all replies should be forwarded to (1)

And please include your phone number (2)


Warning Signs #4

1. Again no email address to forward replies to.

2. You have already provided your phone number, a couple of emails ago.

Scammer Email #5

Hello {name},

Check (1) for the supplier has been mailed out to your address you shall receive it this week Tuesday which is tomorrow.

The Cheque (1) is from one of our clients who is making part payment for auditing and account review services rendered by us. (2) You shall deduct your salary of $350 and pay the supplier the remaining funds.

As soon as you receive the Check, go straight to your bank and deposit the cheque at your bank. You’ll need to enquire from the bank when the funds would be available for withdrawal in 24 hours.

Here is the tracking number UPS.COM {number}

Use it to monitor exactly what time the package would arrive at your address.

Note that the funds would be available for withdrawal or 24/48 hours after you have deposited it into your bank account.

kindly send me me a reply or text me so i will be able to know when the funds would be available so i can get the name and location of the supplier and send them to you.

After you must have received the funds, keep your salary in your bank account (which is $350)

You can text me or call me on my this number (707) 676-3105 (4) to update me on the step after you have gotten back to me with reply from the bank

Would be waiting to hear from you soon.



Warning Signs #4

1. Again the check/cheque misspelling.

2. So now you are receiving a payment for the company and processing that via your bank account. Money laundering, anyone?

3. “kindly” is a word the Nigerians use a lot, along with “I will like to” “update me urgently” “compliments of the season” “modalities” and a few other catchphrases.

4. 7072603466 was the number previously given. Now we have a new number? And note it is written differently as well. (707) 676-3105

It was at this point that the scam victim became suspicious and did some googling – and they found my website as a result and sent me an email reaching out for assistance. Thank the deities, they will not be scammed. But for every one person who reaches out, there are thousands of people who do get scammed.

The scammers are constantly coming up with new scams – here is one which talks about wrapping your car in advertising to be paid a weekly amount via cheque and when you read through the comments there you will see hundreds of people who fell for it..

The Only Answer

Banks need to stop allowing checks / cheques / bank drafts. Full stop, end of story. There is no reason in these days of electronic funds transfer for this form of payment to be used. Allowing it simply allows the scammers to get away with these scams – especially when the bank is often a willing participant, telling people checks have cleared when they can bounce up to a year later!

Until then, you have to protect yourself, and here is the best advice I have seen on this subject – though I have added a rule #7 just to make things perfectly clear.

How To Avoid Fake Job Scams

Bitter Bastard said it best in their reply here

“Rules to follow” to avoid most fake jobs:
1) Job asks you to use your personal bank account and/or open a new one.
2) Job asks you to print/mail/cash a check or money order.
3) Job asks you to use Western Union or moneygram in any capacity.
4) Job asks you to accept packages and re-ship them on to anyone.
5) Job asks you to pay visas, travel fees via Western Union or moneygram.
6) Job asks you to sign up for a credit reporting or identity verification site.
7. Job asks you to deposit a check into your personal account.

Avoiding all jobs that mention any of the above listed ‘red flags’ and you will miss nearly all fake jobs. Only scammers ask you to do any of the above. No. Exceptions. Ever. For any reason.

Wait! I’m being scammed by Connected Sky

Did you find this post searching for something like “is connectedsky business assistant job a scam” – the answer to that question is yes – this is a scam. There is no job. You will be sent a fraudulent check, and they want you to send them money because your bank will clear the check at first.

If you have banked a check from them –

but you still have the money and have not sent it anywhere – PUT THAT MONEY BACK IN YOUR BANK RIGHT NOW. Do not send any money via Western Union or Moneygram.

If you have banked a check from them –

And you have sent the money via Western Union or Moneygram, then you may wish to seek legal advice. I strongly suggest that you do so as a matter of urgency, because..

In the USA, scam victims can be arrested for banking a fraudulent check.

Even the FTC in the US gives out incorrect information re check scams – they say “The bottom line is that until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check.”

This is UNTRUE –

even if the bank confirms the funds have been deposited, the bank can undo the transaction at any time when they discover the check was stolen or fraudulent – even up to a year after they “cleared” it. But you did not know this, and nobody ever tells anyone this.

If you are not willing to seek legal advice, the only advice I can personally provide to you is to print out all the emails you received and the emails you sent, print out that page from the Federal Trade Commission and keep it somewhere safe for if/when the police eventually turn up on your doorstep.

but be aware –

and I want to make this very clear –

You will have to pay this money back to the bank eventually. The sooner you make arrangements to do this, the better.

Please Leave A Comment

If you have been in contact with these scammers, telling others about your experience, so that they can know they are not alone.

Every single day, several people are finding this post by searching for the text, email addresses, phone numbers, or company name contained within this post. If you are one of these people, please comment to let us know what you searched for and what led you here.

If you need further advice, please leave a comment on this post, or use the contact form to get in touch with me.

fake checks, Internet Safety, scam victims are not stupid, scambaiting, scams

And now you can listen to me!

One benefit of being an audio scam baiter is over time I have learned to take out a lot of the “um” and “err” type stuff that tends to happen when you’re talking to people on the phone. Listening back to this I sound remarkably together but I can guarantee you when I do these interviews I have the sweaty palms. :)

Listen to the radio interview

I do hear a few ums in there but a *lot* less than there would have been a few years ago when I began baiting.

Don’t forget to scroll down and read yesterdays post where there are links to my scambaits and audio baiting files, as well as links to more info on scams..

scambaiting, scams

More on scams and scam baiting

On Wednesday morning I’ll be doing an interview on ABC North West WA (update – the interview has aired and you can listen to it here), and some listeners may venture over to my blog looking for more information on scams, scambaiting, and check fraud. So here’s some linkage to posts I have written which may be helpful. This might also be a chance for regular readers to catch up on some of the stuff they may have missed reading. So without further ado – Linkage!

Information About Scams –

Please Help! What You Can Do To Stop Internet Scammers NOW. – How you can help stop internet scams.

Snoskred made 5 MILLION DOLLARS online this year! – In fake checks, that is. Unfortunately that doesn’t help me financially, but it does help me get the word out about fake check scams.

Snoskred on fake check scams and scambaiting – a guest post I did with a fake check bait from start to finish – just a quick one but gives you an idea how little it can take to get a check. An interesting read.

This could be a problem – Scammers are using the bank details of charities in order to make fake checks.

Internet Scams – How I Make A Difference – A bit more info on what I do.

Spam – Never Unsubscribe, Never Reply – this is how scammers and spammers know your email is being read by a human.

Scambaiting –

The top 5 funny things scammers say – These funny things may come to you as a surprise if you are not a scambaiter.

An original scammer.. Or not. – We baiters get threatened regularly and here’s a funny one – but is it original?

What will a scammer do for money? – Virtually anything, it seems.

We cannot talk about sex before money! – You know they are serious about their scamming when an extremely pretty girl fails to tempt them..

Possible Offensive Language – A scammer is a little upset with me.

Aww Poor Scammer – automatic baiting is fun!

Sephyroth – Baiting – My scambaiting partner in crime, Sephyroth.

Learn to scambait –

The following forums all offer “mentor” or “student/teacher” programs where you can learn to scambait safely. If you want to try scambaiting I highly recommend you do it with a mentor or teacher as there is a lot to know.

419 Eater

If you want to know more about me, you can always click on the About page.

Over To You –

Got something to say about scammers, scambaiting, or fake checks? Have you ever been scammed? The comments section is open. First time comments are moderated, if your comment does not appear right away apologies but I might not be near the computer.

scambaiting, scams

The Top 5 Funny Things Scammers Say.

5. The modalities have been finalized.

What a lovely word modalities is. It was essentially never used for the most part until the scammers brought it back into vogue – at least within the scambaiting community, we just plain love the word.. It means “The ceremonial forms, protocols, or conditions that surround formal agreements or negotiations”.

4. As you read this, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.

This one is used a lot by the scammers. It will often be combined with a tale about cancer that has “defiled all forms of medicine”. Considering that the definition of defiled is – morally blemished; stained or impure I’ve got a sneaking suspicion they have absolutely no idea what the majority of words in the emails they send out actually mean. Other than of course money, and Western Union and Moneygram, which in their dictionary = money anyway.

3. Be rest assured that this business is 100% risk free.

Is there anything in life that is 100% risk free? I think not. But once you know this statement is used to convince people to take part in something slightly dodgy, you will start to see the words risk free jump out at you from the most unexpected places. I’ve even seen it in brochures from banks. My advice is, when you see the words risk free, be afraid very afraid!

2. Message received, content well noted.

This statement is usually an enormous lie, because the chances of a Nigerian Scammer actually reading an email that you send is fairly low. In fact my previous email to them might have been full of curses and insults and they will still say this. If they had noted the content, I think they might be a bit upset with me and they might have something to say about the names I called them. Wink

1. I know that this mail will come to you as a surprise.

This sentence has spawned much hilarity among the scambaiters. If one scambaiter calls another scambaiter, the likelihood of the answering scambaiter saying “This call comes to me as a surprise” is about 99%. In fact the temptation to make the title of every post on my blog a variation of this is quite high. ;)

funny, scambaiting, scams

This Could Be A Problem.

As many of you know I am a scambaiter. I bait the Nigerian 419 scammers who try to steal money from people. One of the things I collect is fake checks. There’s more info on what I do and how I do it in this post – Snoskred Made 5 Million Dollars Online This Year.

I regularly check the PO box where the scammers send their checks to me, and I contact the companies who appear on the checks to let them know their bank account information is being used by scammers. Sometimes this is no easy task. I prefer to send them an email if possible but many companies don’t get back to me and I want to make sure they received the warning so I have to get on the telephone to speak to someone – and that is not the easiest task either. Especially given that I am in Australia and I receive checks with company names from many countries. I use Skype to make the calls, it is fairly cheap but the calls do add up.

How do the scammers get the bank information of these companies? They simply call and ask for it, claiming they have to make a payment. Most companies give out their bank information far too easily. But you know who gives out their banking information much more easily than a business? A charity.

I have feared this day was coming for a while now. Look what I just received.

The Check

Yes, this is supposedly a check from the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Only I know that it hasn’t come from them at all. I baited the scammer and they sent me this check. And guess where the scammer wanted me to send money to? And how they wanted me to send the money? No really, go on and guess. I bet you’ll never get it right! Here’s an email from the scammer who sent me this check.

Dearest Chloe,This is to inform you that you will be receiving a cheque for $35,000 via fed ex today. As soon as you have received the package, you are required to send within 24 hours the sum of $2500 via western union money transfer to my supplier in west africa with the information below;

Name: Steve Thompson
Address: Lagos Nigeria

Ensure the transfer information of the western union is sent to me such as, sender’s name and address, 10 digits money transfer control numbers and security test question and answer.

I look forward to your positive response as soon as possible

Michael Brown

You’ll note I have edited out all the bank information on the check. That is because any scammer could create a counterfeit check with just a printer, some paper, and your bank account information – the stuff that appears along the bottom of your checks is all they need – and those counterfeit checks WILL BE CASHED if you have money in your account.This causes a problem for companies and charities because in general they do have money in their account – and some companies and charities do not have someone like an accountant in house watching the outgoing money.

Michael is apparently very unhappy with Chloe. He sent the check via Fedex, and that means he can see when it has been collected. ;)

Dear Chloe,I am miserable to learn from you that you didn’t receive the package that was sent to you via fedex, whose tracking number indicates that it has been delivered to you. I called fedex and I was told the package has been delivered to you, so I can’t figure out what exactly you are talking about.

I will sincerely appreciate you call the local fedex outlet around you with the tracking number I previousely gave to you and find out the through position of the payment that was sent to you.

Please ensure you do so and get back to me with a positive response.

But mind you, should anything happens to my money, you will have yourself to blame for it because you will have the FBI to face.


Michael Brown

Those scammers just love to threaten their victims with the FBI. They will steal money from anyone they possibly can. It is a pity there is no FBI in their country who might actually arrest them. The police in Nigeria are terribly corrupt. :(

fake checks, scambaiting, scams

An Original Scammer.. Or Not..

I notice there’s a lot of new readers on the feed, and also a lot of new visitors to the site. Welcome to Life In The Country – please feel free to comment and de-lurk and let me know where I can find your blog to check you out.

Those of you new to the blog probably won’t be aware of this but for the past month I have been a part of a campaign run by a small group of scambaiters to collect scammer bank account information which is then passed along to the police. You can read more about the campaign if you like – A Journey Along The Road To Stopping Online Scammers – so far we have collected thousands of bank accounts many of which have already been passed along to the authorities.

Once we send them the initial email the scammers are baited by the *computer for as long as the scammer will keep sending emails, which can be a lot of emails. We don’t have to worry about what they’re saying, and any bank account information is automatically put aside by the computer. Yep, it’s a smart computer!

Today one of the baiters responsible for passing the bank account information on to the police contacted me on Skype. He let me know he was baiting one of the scammers manually now, after seeing an email the scammer had been sending to us because it was quite well written and he thought the scammer might turn out to be a fun bait. The email went like this –

I sent this directly to you via The Curse Of The Wicked Soul. Cradling the powers of the Orunmila to Wizard Of Ingoni, I have unleashed an army of seventy-two spirits and demons. The Eiye Efe will gaze from above as the summons of the spirits appear before your eyes.

My cosmic powers have grown from the fears of deception and will reek havoc and spill the blood of the guilt. I have carved marks of evil into your conscience and your spiritual blindness will direct you to fall into the hands of proper authorities. The curse will begin when I attach this written segment of your soul “hope you are Christian, in the name of the almight God. help me thanks”.

For you have only made me wiser. Money is just paper in which I used to buy your soul. If you would like it returned unharmed, you must make ammends to the deception you have brought amongst yourself. If you do not, you will live for eternity in the firey pits of hell and in fear of Bytor, Light of Darkness,
Centurion Of Evil, Devil’s Prince.

The Police and the FBI will be on this case if the funds are not sent back to my friend who gave us loan by today. Did you think you’ll eat somebody’s money? and walk away with it.
“Wizard” Waskowiak Owner of Your Soul

One wonders – if he has “the powers of the Orunmila to Wizard Of Ingoni” and he has “unleashed an army of seventy-two spirits and demons” then precisely why does he need the Police and the FBI?

However, a visit to Scrooglelater and the truth was revealed – this scammer stole this threat from somewhere else and just modified it to suit his purpose.

I checked to see if he had written any more emails to the computer and it turns out he did send one more –
You have to listen carefully,i am not here to play with you if you don’t send the pay slip to show my bank as an evidence that you have made the transfer to the account then i promise you that my actions will start today if you do not harken to my voice, So be it.To aviod the wrath that will follow suit you have to go immediately to the bank to collect the pay slip, scan and send it to my email, so that all these botherings will stop

It seems he’s not quite as literary with his threats when he has to make them up on his own rather than steal them from elsewhere.

It’s funny because I haven’t noticed any botherings but now that my soul is owned and my conscience is smarting from the carving of marks of evil into it, perhaps I just didn’t notice the botherings?

I already had a fair idea I would be spending eternity in the firey pits of hell. It’s nice to have it confirmed for sure though – because there is no way I am sending him any money! ;)

Sometimes as a baiter you will get these scammers frothing at the mouth and threatening all kinds of unusual things. It is champagne comedy. However it is even more fun when you get them on the telephone. I don’t know if this lad sent a phone number but if he did I’ve got some Skype credit burning a hole in my pocket. I might give him a call.

*Note – these aren’t computer 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.

scambaiting, scams

Halloween? I Don’t Think So! This Is Australia, Right?

I live in Australia. Contrary to popular belief, Australia does not = America. Halloween is not something that was ever celebrated in this country as I was growing up. It was a virtually unknown about holiday other than seeing it on US TV shows.

One day around this time last year, I was sitting at home waiting for my Mother to come and pick me up. The doorbell rang and expecting it to be her I answered the door. I was surprised to find several children who immediately said “Trick Or Treat. No, surprise doesn’t quite explain it. I was SHOCKED. So shocked that I had no idea what to do other than say “wait a minute” and I ran to see if we actually had any lollies in the house.

We are not big fans of lollies at all. There was nothing in the cupboard. Faced with the prospect of disappointing these kids, I looked in the fridge to see if maybe we had any chocolate. I found a bag of snack size chocolate treats that we kept winning in these chocolate machines – the skill tester ones? The other half loves those but neither of us eat the chocolate you find in there – they don’t put Lindt in for those of us who cannot stand the common “Cadbury” chocolates. There was probably $10 worth of chocolates in there and I figure we don’t eat it, I’ll give it to these kids.

It wasn’t until my Mother had picked me up and I was telling her the story that I realised – these kids didn’t have costumes on! They were just wearing normal clothes. I had been SCAMMED by trick or treaters who didn’t even bother to put effort into making a costume – and the same kids had got lollies out of my Mother too! You see how easy it is to get yourself scammed, people? ;)

It’s ok though, the other half told me later he thought the bag of chocolates I gave to these kids had been in the fridge for about a year, so.. Parents, do you know where YOUR children are or more importantly, the origin of the treats they might receive this Halloween? Hopefully they’re not ringing my doorbell – I won’t be answering it today.

embarrassing stories, scams

Please Help! What You Can Do To Stop Internet Scammers NOW.

I’m going to ask everyone reading this to do something for me today at the bottom of this post. One of the first posts I read in my Google Reader today was from Christine’s blog. thirtysomething had a nasty scam experience.

Honestly, it makes me feel so useless. Here I sit, a friend of Christine’s, a scambaiter, someone who has tried here on my blog to educate people about scams, and just one degree of separation later here is a friend of Christine’s *almost* being scammed. I say almost because she did not lose any money that I know of – but worse still she quit a real job to take a fake one.

Educating people about scams online is one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life, because every time I think the word is getting out proof comes back to me as a surprise that it is not.

I have the knowledge to stop people from being scammed but it still isn’t enough. I can’t make the word go far enough. I can’t seem to get other people to write about the scams and link back to information I have here on the site about them.

The elderly, the stay at home Mom’s, the disabled, the depressed, the lonely, the vulnerable – these are the people who get scammed the most.

Experiences like the one thirtysomething had are why I still bait scammers. This is why I volunteer at victim support websites. This is why Sephy and I have spent the last 5 days furiously working to get a new scam warning website online.

I hear about terrible things happening to scam victims every single day. It could have been a lot worse. Just recently I spoke with an elderly lady who lost her entire life savings when a fraudulent check bounced. Scam victims are often arrested for check fraud. That is why I try to get the word out there on the internet so that people are not scammed.

What You Can Do Now –

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

Report Your Scammer Emails Online

I heartily encourage anyone receiving scam emails to report them via the Scam-O-Matic. The scam-o-matic can be found here – The scam-o-matic – all scammer email addresses and emails put into the scam-o-matic are added to a blacklist which can save other people from being scammed. Many scammer email addresses reported via these means are baited by scambaiters.

Reporting Scam Emails is the number one way you can hurt scammers.

You can also report scams to the blacklist in other ways, take a look here for options.

Other ways YOU can help!

Steal This Post

Steal This
If you want a text copy of this blog post all ready to go in html format that you can simply copy and paste into your blog you can find it by clicking right here Steal This Post. I don’t normally encourage “content theft” but this is for a good cause. Please Steal This Post. Encourage your readers who may not know me from a bar of soap to do the same. Don’t make me beg. ;) Help stop internet scams today.

Further Reading And Viewing –

About the 419 Scam
Scam Victims United

scam victims are not stupid, scams

A Journey Along The Road To Stopping Online Scammers

Aside from the blog and the commenting and the housework and preparing to start my business, a few days ago I got on a bus to a different kind of journey. I have been on this journey before and I’d like to tell you a little about it. I’ve become a spammer – but for a good cause. ;)

Search Engines Save Scam Victims

Joe Wein runs a website on the internet which is dedicated to stopping 419 scammers – as well as spammers who send you emails you don’t want. Joe maintains an online list of scammer email accounts and scammer emails, all of which are spidered by the search engines. This means if a potential scam victim types in a scammers email address, one of the very first hits they will get will be Joe’s website. Joe also runs the Scam-O-Matic tool which can look at an email and tell you whether it is a scam or not. He is frankly a technical genius and I’m not saying that just because he’s my friend. ;)

Blogs Can Save Them Too –

Sephy also runs four blogs which post scammer emails – the links to them are under sites I love in my sidebar – and there’s a few other sites around which do this. All of them are unique and necessary websites because no one person gets all the scam emails these scammers send out. It is estimated that there are over 100,000 419 scammers in Nigeria alone – that does not count those who have moved to countries like the USA, Canada and the UK. Dubai and India are the newest hotspots for scammers.

Shut Down The Email Accounts!

A lot of people ask me – why don’t “they” shut down the scammers email accounts? Many of the email services do – which creates an issue with the scammer email list. Currently on the list there are over 172,000 scammer email addresses, and there’s also over 140,000 old email addresses which had been recently cut from the list because it had become far too large. From time to time, Sephy and I and a few of the other scambaiters take a bit of our time to email all the lads on the list – all the “bounces” where the mail server says “this account has been closed” and other error messages are fed back to Joe, and the list can be cleared of closed email addresses.

How many do I send each day?

For the past 2 days I have been sending out 990 emails a day from 20 email accounts = 19,800 emails a day!. It generally takes me about an hour to do this. Once I get into “the zone” and have some music playing it’s just a matter of copy and paste. I send two emails per account, 495 scammer email addresses in each one of those emails, all as blind carbon copy – BCC. At this early stage roughly 50% of the email accounts bounce, I’ll have some better figures on that when we’re done.

What Is In The Email I Send?

The email I send tells the scammers that I have a significant amount of money ready to send to them and I need the bank account details to transfer the funds – all the bank account details sent to me by the scammers are passed on to the proper authorities, they get investigated and the majority of them are shut down by law enforcement. This can mean some victims get their money back when the accounts are investigated. So in general, this is a great way to be spending some of my time. ;) The last time we did this, literally thousands of bank accounts were reported.

What Replies Do I Get?

For the scammers whose email accounts are not closed and do not bounce –

  • some of them reply with abuse because they’ve been on the list a while and they’ve seen a few of these emails from us
  • some of them think this is an “accidentally sent email” and they jump at the chance to steal easy money
  • at least 10% of them respond with bank account details
  • another 40-60% respond asking me to send money by Western Union – these email addresses are saved and re-emailed with a request for bank account information which yields another decent amount of bank accounts
  • some of them take this opportunity to send us their scam emails, which all get added to a few of the websites which keep these emails available to the search spiders
  • some of them reply with some quite odd things indeed
  • some of the classic responses get put aside to be sent a telephone number where they can call me and I can waste a bit of their time and money chatting to them – generally not understanding what they are trying to say to me

Once we have cleaned the list thoroughly, we’ll be hooking a lot of these lads up with the baiting tool, so they can spend their time corresponding with fake victims instead of real ones.

This Can Be Funny Too –

One of the most hilarious things that happens is – the scammers go out and create brand new email accounts which are virtually identical to the one we address the email to. Usually we make it something like charles.soludo or mariam.abacha (two of the most popular names the scammers use) but this time we thought we’d have a bit of fun with it. Emails are being sent to the perfect err.. ph@llus. And so far the scammers have created about 50 different versions of this email address! They are very creative about it – I saw one today that spelt ph@llus with 3 l’s.. phalllus, I almost fell off my chair laughing.

Share The Amusement –

I thought today I would show you a few of the emails I have received from scammers over the past few days but I warn you, these scammers have trouble turning caps lock off.. ;)

You foll do not contact me again




how are you i will want you to send the feels to my name

are u sure this email is for me i do not understand you

This scammer explains why not to email him on the old email account anymore –

How are you today, I received your mail and am happy you received the check, I don’t want you to sent me email to my other address because I just find out that some one is using it which is not me so I decided to use this one by opening this one for private between me and you ok with other name, so I want you to change your email address and reply me from the new email, which i use in sending you this email, so that I can know it is you ok. Immediately I receive your mail I will sent you the bank account information’s you will use and send the money ok.

This scammer doesn’t want the full 6 million dollars which I have to send him. He settles for a much more reasonable amount –

Thank you very much for your update. As soon as the funds have made available kindly proceed and transfer the total sum of £10 Pounds to my friend in United kindom

This scammer thinks I am also a scammer, and apparently not well versed in English. I hope he’s wrong, it’s the only language I know!

Local…………Ur english is not good enough to convince..try and improve from ur local way of composing english. Lollllllllllllllllllllllllllll

This scammer isn’t too sure whether I am legit or not but just in case –


This scammer has a tale the likes of which are a little.. unbelievable –

Thank you very much for your email and update. However i think my email address account is being hacked because as i was about to send you a reply after i read your email from my email account, the message disappeared right in front of my very eyes. I was shocked. I do not know why someone will want o hack into my email account but for security reasons i have stopped using the email account and as soon as i am able to get a secure email account i will notify you.

In fact there seems to be an apparent rash of dodgy goings on –

Please I have changed to this email because someone is spying my email, so please be carefull not to send email apart from here.

And this scammer is having troubles too –

You should desist from writing mail to Lu’s email address and stop further communication with him via phone because his phone was bugged and email hacked. Disregard a email from Lu’s email and even calls because the Police is on his trail but with my position and influence as a Bank Excutive, (even though he can’t spell his position so how good can his influence be?) i will make sure thatthe funds is secured for Lu and yourself.

And this scammer is apparently being terrorised by his employees trying to steal his monies –

Ok infect I have been having problem with my employees in our company that wanted to take over my business fund but with God be the glory that the will not succeed with their terrorist act. So I have decided to write you with my alternative mail address so that you can only communicate with me

This scammer is not too sure how soon he can get his stolen from another scammer monies –

I will want to believe that what you meant to say was that the money would be sent by friday of this week and not friday of next week.

The scammers love Western Union but they seem to be never quite sure how to spell it. I would have thought all the time they spend at their local Western Union with those big black and yellow signs that coincidentally say “Western Union” might have given them a clue. Here’s some of the spellings –

WESTAN UNIONwestern unnionwester unionwesternunionwestern uniuonwestan uninwestner unionwestenr union

scambaiting, scams

Spam – NEVER Unsubscribe! NEVER Reply!

We bloggers want to put an email address out there on our blogs for people to contact us with. The spammers have “data mining” software, which grabs those email addresses off the internet and loads them into their spam email programs. So how can you protect yourself from this deluge of unwanted email?

Never Unsubscribe – Never Reply

I got an email this morning from a friend of mine, who mentioned receiving a spam email from Romania. This one was actually personally addressed to their email address, which often tricks people into thinking they had actually subscribed to receive these emails.

The bottom line is, spammers send these emails out in the hope that people will unsubscribe – or reply to the email asking them not to email again. Can you figure the logic in people who reply to scammers and spammers saying “Don’t email me again, ever.” – You never asked them to email you and asking them not to email you makes no sense at all. Like they’re going to do anything you ask them to do!!!

Once they have confirmed there is a real human being reading emails at that email address, they can sell it on to other spammers and make big money out of it. So set yourself a policy of never reply, never unsubscribe.

Is It Possible To Not Get Spam Emails?

Yes it is. You just have to keep your email address completely private. As in, you don’t give it to anyone, anywhere. Of course, that defeats the purpose of having an email address! You want people to be able to get in touch with you – you just don’t want spammers and scammers getting in touch.

What Else Can I Do?

There are a couple of options which are relatively simple that may not stop the spammers and scammers completely, but at least makes it harder for them.

Make Your Email Address An Image –

You may have seen this kind of image around the place – note this email address I don’t use anymore so don’t ya’all email me at it!


This is easily generated online thanks to this wonderful website – Email Icon Generator.

The only trouble with this is, your email address needs to be simple enough that people can work it out from the image. Try to use letters only because numbers will be confusing. You will find some people will get the address wrong or simply not bother, though. It is almost as bad as those Captcha word generator things for comments.

Put An Extra Word Into Your Email Address –

Then tell people underneath which word to remove. For example (this is not a real email address) <--- take out the Poop to reach me. The only trouble with this is people find it annoying and troublesome and might not email you at all. People used to use NOSPAM as the word to take out - don't use that word anymore, the scammers and spammers have worked that trick out. They're not complete nitwits, ya'all! ;)
Use One Email For The Net –

This is the solution I have chosen for myself. Make an email address which is for the web only and which receives email only – never use it for subscribing to things or personal emails or responding to anything. Be very aware that emails which arrive in there can potentially be spams and scams, and never unsubscribe to anything sent to that address – because you never USED that address to subscribe.

Make another email address for personal correspondance and keep that one to yourself and friends only. There’s no limit on how many email addresses you can have.

I use 5 different email addresses for this blog. One here for people to contact me with, one which receives all the comments people post on my blog, one which I use to email people back with, one which I use for things I have signed up for which are blog related, and one which I use when I reply to comments.

Stumble It –

I hope this might be useful information and helpful to everyone out there on the net, if you found it to be useful please stumble it. ;)

Over To You!

What are you doing to protect yourself from spam and scammers? Do you receive a lot of scam or spam emails?

internet, scams, spam, www safety