Now it’s personal
I’m pissed off today. Scammers nabbed a single mother of two little girls, causing her to lose her job and their preschool spots. (I know from experience: those spots are like hard currency!) At least she didn’t lose any money. Read all about Greenblogger’s experience here. (It involves Careerbuilder—something to be aware of.)

And remember Snoskred? She posted here a few weeks ago all about fake check scams. Today I also learned her motivation for doing what she does (from the comments in the Greenblogger thread linked above):

One of the reasons that I do this is because in December 2004—not long after I got into scambaiting—a scam victim travelled to South Africa and went missing. The victim’s brother reported it to the police. At the time scambaiters had an association with the South African Police so fellow scambaiting friends of mine were asked to help out and try to find out more about the scammers from the little information the victims brother had. They were able to get quite a bit of info, all of which was passed to the police. Three days later after following up on some of the info given to them, the police found the victim. He had been murdered and not in a nice way. In a way that gives me nightmares. I won’t tell how because it is just too horrible.

We do what we can here at I’ve Tried That, but every time I hear about a victim like this mother of two, I realize we can never do enough. I’m no saint, mind you: I’ve LMAO more than once at some moron who forks over a cool grand to claim his prize in a contest he didn’t enter, or sends his life savings across the world via Western Union to get his share of an African princess’s fortune. I have little to no pity for them. (Is that wrong?) Don’t take yourself out of the gene pool or anything rash like that, but geez, man! Stay indoors and keep your helmet on before you really hurt yourself.

But most victims are innocent, reasonably intelligent folks like you and me who are vulnerable in a moment of fear or need. That’s what these scammers count on, and they’re very good at what they do (despite the idiotic, poorly written letters I’ve received from many).

Snoskred is on the warpath
And she’s someone you don’t want to piss off. Or rather, you want her angry in this battle, but you want to be on her side! She and Sephy have built a new anti-scam site, Scam Warning. It automatically posts scam emails online. Many potential scam victims are saved from being scammed because they search for the email address, telephone number, name, or other information that appears in emails they receive from the scammers. Scam Warning makes all that information easy to find. Check it out!

Also let your friends and readers know about the Scam-O-Matic. Enter a suspicious email in this Web form, and it will be analyzed to identify typical scam components. And what’s really cool is that all scammer email addresses and messages submitted to the Scam-o-Matic are added to a blacklist that can save other people from being scammed. All scammer emails are baited by scambaiters. All the emails you submit will end up appearing on Scam Warning. How cool is that? Kudos to Snoskred and Sephy for giving us this important weapon—putting the power of networks to work against assholes all over the world.

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Join the Discussion

  • Delight

    i have been scammed by someone who told me all the right things and now disappeared. how can i report this to the FBI or who ever please help me
    i dont knbow where he is and im sure the address he gave nme is falst oo. how can ni report him

  • Snoskred

    There is no need to be. From now on you know better is all. :)

    And sometimes I do feel the same way for just a few moments because a lot of victims forward to me their correspondance with the scammer and about 70% of the time in their very first email to the scammer they say “Is this some kind of scam” and their scammer assures them it is not. Clearly their intuition was telling them it was too good to be true, but they squashed it because they wanted the money. If they had googled, if they had done a bit of research..

    But then I remember the scammers are criminals, and put that thought out of my mind. :)

    You do excellent work here. I applaud your efforts. There’s not many people who are devoted to this.


  • Joe

    You’re absolutely right. I am ashamed.

  • Snoskred

    You said –

    I have little to no pity for them. (Is that wrong?)

    Absolutely. Every scam victim is a victim of a crime – regardless of what scam they fell for. I often try to relate it to other crimes. Would you laugh at the owner of a car who got theirs stolen because they parked it somewhere YOU knew cars got stolen all the time? But they were not from around there, and they didn’t know the same thing you knew. That is exactly how people get scammed. The majority of people scammed simply didn’t know it was a scam. Often they are tempted by the thought of easy money – and so are we all. Who among us has NEVER bought one lottery ticket in their lifetime?

    It isn’t about how intelligent someone is – it is about how educated on that particular topic someone is. Thousands of people get on the internet for the first time every day – many of them are prime targets for the scammers. There is little to no education on internet safety or how scams work.

    Just FYI – the victim who was killed was tied to the back of a vehicle and dragged around for a while, then they beat him up – by the time they were finished every bone in his body was broken, every single one. He was still alive when they poured gasoline over him and set him on fire. He was unable even to roll over to try and put the flames out and there was nobody to help him. Can you imagine dying like that? What he went through, it must have been horrible. He was completely unrecognisable when the police found him.

    Nobody deserves to be treated the way that scam victim was treated. Nobody deserves to be scammed at all.

    The people doing the scamming are raking in a lot of cash. THEY are the bad guys. They are criminals. They are defrauding people. They are the people who get the blame. If they worked a decent legitimate job for a living instead of stealing from others, people would not get scammed by them.

    How much blame should companies like Western Union – who also make a HUGE profit from these scams – take? I say plenty. They could turn off the cash flow to Nigeria easily and make these scammers lives a lot more difficult. Why don’t they do it? Too much money in it for them. Yet please note – they do not allow transfers OUT of Nigeria at all. Why? TOO MUCH FRAUD.

    There’s a lot more about these scams than meets the eye. There are a lot of people to blame before the victims. What about the media who talk more about Paris Hilton than these scams? It is more difficult to get them to write a story about this than anyone would believe.

    What about internet service providers who do not do anything to protect their users from these scams? There is a scammer email blacklist – does your ISP use it to make sure emails from the scammers don’t get to their clients? Do the free email providers like Gmail use it in order to protect their users?

    I can’t blame the people who get scammed. I have to place the blame where it belongs and that is squarely with the scammers, with a few other people who profit from the scams thrown in on the side.

    Sorry to have gone off on a rant there but that one is a bit of a hot button for me. ;)


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