Fun with Scams

Early this morning, I see an email from my realtor in my inbox:

Note: I blocked out her name in all the captures.

Right away, I noticed something; something aside the fact she wouldn’t ask me for “urgent help”. I noticed her signature was missing her phone number and realtor info.

I correctly surmised her e-mail had been hacked, and this was someone running a scam. So, I answered.

Again, I blocked out her name. Hint, if you are in e-mail contact with me, I always have a signature under my name; a saying that’s easily recognized as coming from me.

Anyway, it went on . . .

Two things to note:

  1. The return email changed from the actual email to a fake email.
  2. Notice the two different fonts. The first one is (likely) the canned “help” message. The last line is the “personal touch” of the scammer.

Now, I thought the request was pretty ballsy. That’s $800; most people would be hard-pressed to drop that kind of money for an “urgent” request for help involving iTune gift cards.

The good thing about this instance is we easily recognize the request as a scam but know that some messages are more convincing.  Here’s my reply:

I mean, I could have sent back this:

. . . but I figured I’d see how long I could string this person along. Saying I could only do three gift cards lent — I thought — a measure of realism to the reply.

Also, I knew they don’t have the phone since I’d texted my realtor to let her know about the hack.

So, this was interesting because “urgent plea for help” and “it’s fine” don’t quite mesh.

Engaging these scammers in conversation makes it clear English is not their native language.

So, here’s where I mix a bit of truth in my responses:

Not calling them out, but asking them to reassure me, which they do:

An opportunity for more fun . . .

Actually, the person has an Apple phone and pad, but the scammer doesn’t know that.

This should raise flags as sending from someone else’s device is not exactly trivial as you’d have to log into your own e-mail on their device. Easy, but most people would be reluctant doing so. Again, note the poor language composition for longer sentences (just like me!).

Also, if you can’t use your phone, how is it you can use an iPad?

I enjoy throwing in actual events into my fiction to lend a measure of realism. I’m also now doing what most people who are friends (good enough friends to ask $800 from) do; share other interests and refer to prior conversations.

I’m hoping this lends more weight to the idea I bought this scam hook, line, and sinker, to use a hunting term.

So, they conveniently ignore the question. I give them a few good marks for that. So, a little while later, while I’m supposedly at the optometrist:

So, consistent timeline, decent personal details, reference to prior events . . . I could write a book.

Short and sweet response; two can play that game . . .

A little later:

Kind of pushy, but they did say they needed urgent help . . .

Unfortunately, I have bad news for them . . .

Again, a mix of fake news (it works for politicians) and I throw it back on their court.

They show remarkably low concern for my plight:

I waited a while and then . . .

Yes, I laid it on kind of thick . . . because I was tired of playing. It’s been over four hours and they haven’t answered so I assume they got wise . . . or don’t want to guarantee my medical bills.

When I do these kinds of things, Melisa worries there might be retribution. I suppose, but I doubt it. It takes time and effort and there’s no gain to it. It’s just as easy moving on to a more gullible fish.

I mean, I suppose they could try hacking me email . . . but, they would have to install a keylogger on my machine so they can steal the login credentials. But, even if they manage that, they would also have to get my phone since almost at all of the places where I have accounts of any kind, I’ve turned on two-factor authorization.

Some might consider it a pain, having to enter a random code whenever logging on to places, or receive a text with a code, or use other methods to verify one’s identity.

I mean, I suppose it’s possible for someone to break into my house and install a keylogging program on my machine, but since they would be in the house, they could just bop me over the head with a baseball bat.

Otherwise, they would need to rely on my clicking on a malicious link at a malicious site. Also, rely on the various safeguards I have installed to fail and allow me to get to a malicious site and then allow said malicious code to load on my PC.

I suppose it could happen. The odds, though, are small.

Anyway, next time someone tries to scam you, have some fun; waste some of their time.

I should do a picture, just for kicks . . . how about two? 

I might have used these before, but who’s gonna object?

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it’s copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intentions, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Humor, Writing Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Fun with Scams

  1. mvschulze says:

    You’ve got too much time on your hands! Speaking of things on your hands, how’s the painting going? M :-)

    Like

    • disperser says:

      No, the e-mails were minimal efforts. It took about 30min to cut screen-capture and generate the post.

      Painting is all done. I’m now measuring for redoing the closet, but we’re not sure yet what we want as far as configuration.

      Like

  2. AnnMarie says:

    Now that was entertaining!

    I only received one scam email:
    “Good to hear from you, hope all is well with you? I need to get three iTunes gift cards for my niece, Its her birthday but I can’t do this now because I’m currently traveling. Can you get it for me from any store around you? I’ll pay back next week when I get back home.”

    At least they’re kind enough to ask about your well-being before they scam you!
    Anyway, tempting idea to play with them, but I probably wouldn’t do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. oneowner says:

    I would leave a comment on this post but my old war wounds (Anzio) are acting up, again. Best of luck with your fishing expedition! My regards to Martha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      At the risk of sounding dense (a favorite state of mine), I’m torn between believing this is meant as a humorous response and I’m missing the joke, or a response meant for someone else.

      I’m thinking this is meant in jest but it could be you are 93 and serious about your Anzio wounds.

      As I said, I hesitated asking for fear I would be the only one “not getting it”. But then I couldn’t overcome my curiosity.

      Like

  4. Ggreybeard says:

    Yes, an entertaining read.

    I guess these scammers only need a 1% return (on the millions of free e-mails they send) to make a good profit – and must be getting it because they keep on doing it. I reckon if ISPs charged people by their uploads instead of their downloads this sort of stuff would be curtailed. I pay to buy a stamp when sending a letter, the recipient doesn’t pay to receive it.

    Good for you for wasting their time. I sometimes do that with phone scammers but instead of engaging them in conversation, I ask them to hold the line for a minute as it’s an awkward moment, then go and flush the toilet, run the tap to wash my hands, tell them to hang on, I’ve just got to turn the frying pan off and so on…

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Yeah; I probably shouldn’t do this because they’re likely in a sweat-shop somewhere in Malaysia or something. But it can be fun.

      Like this classic:

      I used to take sales calls at work when I was building a model or something and I was bored. I would tell them right up front I didn’t plan to buy anything, and that I’d try to keep them on the line as long as possible. They ignored the warning and about 15min later they would be all upset because I wasted their time.

      I like the people who call to tell you your PC has a problem. I tell them I know; it caught on fire and I threw it out the window and now I have no PC. They don’t have a script for that one.

      Like

  5. HA! I am laughing so hard my stomach hurts! This is so funny and creative and mischievous! I love your sense of humor!
    Say…Did you ever do anything similar to JW’s when they rang the doorbell? Or telemarketers when they called?
    HUGS and thanks for the laughs!!! :-D

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Thanks, Carolyn.

      JW and other religious proselytizers usually get engaged in conversations, more so in my younger days than now (although I spoke for 90 minutes with a couple of Mormon kids just a few months ago). I used to have this crazy idea that religious people were brainwashed (they are) and could be made to see the inconsistencies and plain absurdity of their beliefs (they can’t).

      It got to where nobody stopped at our house . . . which I didn’t mind.

      Telemarketers got a similar treatment when I was at work (Melisa would ask me if I was up for a sales call and if I was doing mindless stuff, I’d burn 30-40 minutes or so having fun as I worked). I was especially interested in callers who told Melisa (who occasionally answered phones) that the boss (me) had asked them to call (which she knew to be a tactic to get around call screeners). Those I enjoy stringing along before letting them know we don’t deal with liars.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was told that the JW’s and other door-knockers “mark” houses…I guess that means jotting down CERTAIN house #’s so other door-knockers from their group would know to AVOID those houses. I don’t know if it was true or not. Ha! maybe they actually put a chalk mark on the house…but I never found one on our house and they don’t stop by here anymore.

        I’ve heard some funny stories of what people used to say to telemarketers and I got a kick out of it!

        Like

  6. I like having fun with the man who calls saying there is a problem with my computer and he can help by taking control and fixing it. I once kept him talking for nearly 30 minutes until he finally caught on and gave me a broadside of abuse. Great fun!

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Oh, yeah. Those guys are fun, and yes, the goal is to keep them online as long as possible (when I have the time).

      We no longer have a landline, so we don’t get those kinds of calls much. I did get a call just this morning (from Chicago) with a recorded message speaking in Chinese. Don’t know what that’s all about but I blocked the number (something we couldn’t do with landlines back in the day).

      Like

  7. Perry Broxson says:

    Classic!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

  8. michnavs says:

    Got here through Carolyn’s site and you got me hooked on this one..lol…I was really laughing so hard ….good for this scammer they got their own dose of medicine.

    Like

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