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  1. iNET Interactive
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    New "419" scam involves PayPal and Western Union




    TOP STORY

    New "419" scam involves PayPal and Western Union


    By Woody Leonhard

    There's a new variation on the old "Nigerian" or "419" scam, one that invokes the names of PayPal, Western Union, and the FBI and the scammers are raking in billions.
    Let me introduce you to the way these scum operate and show you a few tricks that may keep you from adding to their booty.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/top-story/new-419-scam-involves-paypal-and-western-union/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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  3. New Lounger
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    Another variation is the seller is paid via Paypal for the goods, the goods are delivered, the purchaser then demands and gets a refund from the sellers Paypal account. The seller then has no goods or money with the purchaser having everything.

    Generally the goods are not collected, they are delivered at the sellers expense, usually overseas.

    This is quite common in Australia for larger items, eg cars, caravans, boats, etc.

    It pays to be suspicious and turn the sale down if ANYTHING is out of the ordinary.

    Stevesub

  4. New Lounger
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    Baiting the Scammers

    A few people have decided that if the scammers are going to send a fake payment, they can, in turn send a fake product. I think this guy did it first:
    http://www.zug.com/pranks/powerbook/
    A long story, but very funny.

    The variation on this scam is when the scammers place an ad to sell a high-priced second hand item such as a bike. The warning signs are:
    1) The advertised price is well under what you would expect.
    2) The seller provides only email contact details.
    3) The seller is no longer in the country, (gone to the U.K, working on an oil rig etc.)
    4) You can't view the item because it has suddenly been moved from the advertised location.
    5) Questions about the item go unanswered, but full details are provided on how payment can be made.
    6) A local shipping company has been instructed to handle matters and all taxes are included.
    7) A fake website for the shipping company may be set up.

  5. Administrator Woody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnno View Post
    A few people have decided that if the scammers are going to send a fake payment, they can, in turn send a fake product. I think this guy did it first:
    http://www.zug.com/pranks/powerbook/
    A long story, but very funny.
    HA! That's great!

    The past couple of weeks I've been getting all sorts of scam mail from Nigeria. My guess is that these creeps are sharing email addresses, and I'm now categorized as a mark.
    Woody

    For Dummies book author, Senior Editor at Windows Secrets Newsletter, Senior Contributing Editor for InfoWorld, and long-suffering Windows victim. Check out the latest at AskWoody.com.

  6. New Lounger
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    Popular PayPal-related scam in Australia
    Fake buyer responds to ad in online advertising space- in my daughter's case, a car for sale
    Buyer cannot come and see the car, they are (a) a marine biologist on an island or (b) a soldier in Iraq. But they want to buy the car for their son/daughter, all looks good, payment coming by PayPal.
    Oops, sorry, mistakenly made too big a payment. Please refund the difference.
    As payment appears to have been made, victim authorises "refund"- then not long after, payment vanishes from PayPal.

  7. New Lounger
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    MTN Nigeria is an off-shoot of a South African cellphone service provider. Here in South Africa, there's increasing concern bout spam and I'm personally involved in an attempt to get my cellphone service provider to accept the responsibility that they have to protect their customers by blocking spam. In theory we have a database in South Africa into which your cellphone number can be entered to prevent such communication. It's run by a direct marketing association, which I suggest says it all in terms of incentive to make it work properly. The fact of the matter is that both cellphone and internet service providers could stop spam if they wanted to, but they make so much money from the traffic that they won't. As Michael Douglas aid in the movie Wall Street "Greed is Good"!?

  8. New Lounger
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    Woody,

    Awesome article!

    It's too bad the USA can't force WesternUnion and PayPal work harder to stop these scams. This is really no different than a local metal recycler paying people for road signs and manhole covers...that are obviously stolen. We just now are getting laws passed to try to stop this...and this is in our complete control and it's still difficult to stop. It's virtually impossible when another country is involved. Any money stolen from us is more money in *their* economy.

    I would advise everyone *not* to try to turn the tables on the scumbags. They've seen it all and have way too much experienece scamming.

    Thanks for the great investigation,
    Randy

  9. New Lounger
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    There is another version circulating such this I received yesterday:-

    In Microsoft Outlook 2000 (maybe the same in other versions), if I look at the email in 'preview', when I run the cursor over a link such as "View the details of this transaction online" in the bar at the bottom it displays the actual address that you will go to if you click. In this case it was http://silentstartupwebsite.com/xBu5dukk/index.html and so on for all the links. Easy to get sucked in! BEWARE !!!
    Dennis

    (PayPal logo was displayed here)

    You sent a payment Transaction ID: 7G804226OQ876940D
    Dear PayPal User,
    You sent a payment for $971.43 USD to Robbie Riley.
    Please note that it may take a little while for this payment to appear in the Recent Activity list on your Account Overview.
    View the details of this transaction online




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This payment was sent using your bank account.

    By using your bank account to send money, you just:

    - Paid easily and securely

    - Sent money faster than writing and mailing paper checks

    - Paid instantly -- your purchase won't show up on bills at the end of the month.

    Thanks for using your bank account!



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Your monthly account statement is available anytime; just log in to your account at https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_history. To correct any errors, please contact us through our Help Center at https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/we...md=_contact_us.

    Amount: $971.43 USD
    Sent on: March 21, 2012
    Payment method: Bank account
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

  10. 3 Star Lounger
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    The general rule in the UK is not to touch anything to do with Western Union. It's a crooks' charter to corrupt banking (as if banks aren't bad enough).

  11. New Lounger
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    Urban mythology. . .

    Although warning folks about scams and scammers is praise-worthy, there's a danger in over-estimating the amount of money that scammers actually harvest. Understandably, no law enforcement agency or regulatory authority is going to do err on the side of understatement: jobs and funding depend on there being a real threat, and the more frequently overstated the nature of that threat, the better.

    Scammers involved in 419 and similar efforts are illiterates whose efforts are as ludicrously bad now as they were way back when, but railing against them is actually like railing against the notion of the survival of the fittest: there will always be stupid people who do stupid things; and there will always be "one born every minute".

    A good piece then, Woody, and your efforts re the execrable Western Union and the utterly inert PayPal are to be applauded, but really, the transaction you chronicled would have sounded alarm bells at its earliest stages for anyone with a few functioning brain cells. Sadly, some people can be fooled all of the time. And that's never going to change.

  12. New Lounger
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    I am moving back to England from the U.S. and therefore have been selling a bunch of items on Craigslist, Ebay, Ebid and my local virtual yardsale. I can't remember all the different scams I have had during this process. This is only over a period of about 6 weeks so there must be literally thousands of them at it. I also have in my possession two checks, these were for the same piece of furniture that was priced at $700, one was written on the check of a Paint company in Georgia and was for $3450, (I called them and they had had quite a few calls) the second was written on a JC Penney check and was for $2000+ and the check was signed by Sarah Palin (now I really feel special).
    I would say that at least 90% of the answers I've had to my ads have been scams. One thing they all have in common is their bad English and the same format.
    Also after receiving the first scams through craigslist, I was already aware of scammers on there from friends and news comments so I decided to sell some of my furniture on ebay, saying I would only accept Paypal or cash on pickup. I didn't realize until I suddenly thought to call them and ask, that Paypal won't be responsible for anything that isn't shipped by a recognized trackable shipping method, and of course to ship furniture this way would be too expensive if not impossible.
    Now I put on all my ads for unmailable larger items, will only accept Cash payments on pickup. This limits my buyers but is far safer.

    The following is the final e-mail from the worst scammer I personally have had. (including my reply, (which appears first) I was really fed up with them by then) I had about 15 emails from them getting progressively more threatening.




    Really, enough is enough, I’ve had enough of your stupid threats, I mean come on, you don’t even speak English so I don’t know how you think anyone would be fooled by your threats.


    Furthermore, I have, right from the beginning of these mailings from you, been sending them to the FBI internet fraud and also to the fraud section of ebay and paypal, who I might add all confirmed that your mailings are an attempt at fraud. I hope they catch you soon as you are what makes the internet a bad place to be.

    I hope people are not gullible enough to be taken in by you but I’m afraid you probably get away with these scams more times than I care to think about. I only hope and pray it’s not too long before you’re caught.



    From:utsinc1@gmail.com[mailto:utsinc1@gmail.com] On Behalf Of eBay
    Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 3:15 PM
    To:
    shirley.baker@comcast.net
    Subject: FPA NOTICE: Transaction Protection Policy Alerts!


     
    eBay sent this message to Shirley Baker (gdogmama)
    Correction mail sent to every member who did transacted a sale with Pamela Koehler Learn more.

     
    FPA NOTICE: Transaction Protection Policy Alerts!

    Dear gdogmama,

    Due to the safety of all our members,we investigate all the transaction for the interest of protecting all eBay members.

    This is clearly stated in eBay code of conduct "That the buyer has the legal right shipping to any preferable destination so far the shipping address is verified and confirmed by PayPal".

    The protection policies newly introduced,regarding the recent habit of many sellers failing to get item(s) shipped after receiving the money in their PayPal account.

    You are recently reported to us by PayPal, for feeling reluctant following the given instruction to facilitates proper account upgrading with the available funds.

    Additionally,the shipping address has been verified and confirmed to protect both the two parties.

    Lastly,we have close monitoring of this transaction to avoid scamming activities as we advise you to complete the transaction immediately for the available funds to be credited to your PayPal account.

    If you have re-listed the item already.Take it off because the contract binding you and the buyer has not been breached.

    Failure to get the item(s) shipped to the confirmed shipping address within 24hours,could result to suspension of your both eBay and PayPal accounts respectively.
    You are secured to go ahead with the postage as required within the next 24hours.

    Thank you for your co-operation in this important matter.


    Regards,

    Safeharbor Department
    eBay, Inc.



    Copyright 2012 eBay Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
    eBay and the eBay logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of eBay, Inc.
    eBay is located at 2145 Hamilton Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125

  13. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to gdogmomma For This Useful Post:

    Baodad (2012-03-23), Granger (2012-03-23)

  14. New Lounger
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    Cool Scammers

    Thank you for writing the piece on scammers. It gave me quite a chuckle and made me wish I could do more things like that just to let them know how stupid they are, and make them fall for a scam themselves. lol

    Anyway, I wanted to respond in regards to the misspelling of words and sentence grammer. I worked for a large company who employed agents to handle anything from sales call for certain companies to online troubleshooting. While listening in on a training class I was very interested to find out how these scammers are getting away with scams and why they all haven't been jailed yet. Well, it turns out that as long as they misplell words or use improper grammar(please excuse mine,lol), that they can use that in their defense by saying that's not what it was suppose to say. So they get a tongue lashing or whatever and walk out laughing as they go to buy a new domain and or name.

    I like to read some of them, because I find it hard to believe that there are stupid enough people around that actually believe a lot of these. What the hell are they doing "owning a computer" if they are that stupid. I'm surprised they can turn it on. lol
    I worry about reading them and/or responding to some of them (just because they make me laugh so hard), but I've heard that if you do open the mail (not a link or attachment, I'm not that dumb), but the email itself, or if you respond to them, that that will only make matters worse because now they know it's a valid email. Is it okay to read these, as long as we don't open anything or acknowledge a read receipt? I'd like to be sure, because while I think this people are the worst and laziest crooks in the world, I still find some of their scams quite funny.

    I hope I helped with that little tidbit of info and I look forward to any responses with regards to my queries.
    Thank you,
    Ray

    PS. If you send me 5 bucks at my corpoorate headquaters, I will send you copies of all the ansers, your 5 dollars back, plus 2 dollars from the entrepenur that follows in your footsteps. Please keep this between us or the Canadian Mountains will shoot us dead on their horse.

    ha, ha, ha, ha.

  15. Lounger LilBambi's Avatar
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    Sad that it is difficult to get any real satisfaction from the companies being spoofed/abused by these scammers.

    I am wondering if the F.B.I. might be interested in it since they spoof them?

    I just got one of these with F.B.I. in the subject in the last couple days. Was in my spam box. Deleted as junk before I read the article. I used to do more with these stupid emails but found it was totally useless too. I still forward the ones with PayPal and eBay in them to their spoof@ emails but that's about it. There are so many LOL!
    Fran Parker, AKA Bambi, Linux User #183283, Ubuntu User #11114, CNI Radio
    BambisMusings, Tumblr, Twitter, Malware Complaints - Stand Up and be Counted!
    I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which grant[s] a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
    --James Madison, 1794

  16. New Lounger
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    Another scam that apparently is pretty prevalent. I put my house up for sale recently. Within a couple of days of it hitting the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) I had several inquiries through my agent (wife)about renting it out. I talked via email to one of the intersted parties and after assuring him it was for sale only, he said that he found a rental listing on various websites for my property at what I would consider a below market rent. He seemed to be expecting the fact that it was a scam and I got the impression that it had happened to him before.

    I went to one of the websites and found my house for rent! It was my house's phot and everything as well as a fairly accurate description of the property and as I mentioned before, at a great deal for monthly rent. Of course I created a throw down email address and emailed the person who was "renting" it out. I got back a lengthy description of the individual and their family with the requisite thanks to God our creator for blessing them with the house and explanations about how they don't want to sell it because they love it so and want trusting people to rent to etc. etc. Apparently he was a doctor and was going to work overseas or something. I asked what the next step was, expecting it to be that I needed to wire him a deposit amount to hold the property. I never heard back from him and never got the satisfaction of dropping the bomb that I was the actual owner and he was full of it. I am not sure what happened, but maybe he found out that I was the owner before I got the chance to ruin his plans.

    The letter was pretty funny to the point of making you wonder why this guy was giving you all of this information right up fron in an initial email. The part that really pissed me off though was the address that I had to email to make the inquiry. It was "myname"@yahoo.com. So now someone else has a Yahoo email account in my name and I worry that it could be used for other scams. I never contacted Yahoo to see of they could shut it down but I doubt they would do that. Someone obviously had access to the MLS service and just trolls for new listings in order to perpetrate the scam. The sites that had the rental listing took it down immediately when I did contact them and told them that I was the legal owner. This leads me to believe that they are well aware of these types of scams as well. The take away I guess is that you can be involved in legitimate business dealings and STILL have someone attempt to scam you or involve you in a scam. You sell property on Craig's list or Ebay and you kind of expect some funny business to some extent. You just don't expect that a real estate deal would attract the same type of low-level, low-lifes trying to make a quick dime. That is usually the realm of the real estate agents! Sort of kidding about the real estate agents. My wife is one and we see first hand the shady dealings on that side, but that is a whole another thing!

  17. New Lounger
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    FBI Scam

    Ha, ha,, ha, thanks for reminding me. I've had serveral from the FBI scammers. I really wish there was a way to forward them to the bureau. I can't believe that they (FBI) let this continue. Don't they realize how bad it makes them look. The scammer's are more or less mocking them, saying "We're untouchable, even the famous FBI can't touch us."

    I don't think anybody would have a problem turning a blind eye while the FBI gathers them up and gives them their super grand prize. What I wouldn't do to get in on that! lol

    I'm getting really tired of deleting these. How come Hotmail hasn't come up with a filter for these kind of emails? Sure would be nice.
    Ray

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