Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stupid thieves prey on stupider victims

In my "day" job I get frequent requests for pricing on absurd quantities of absurd items. My company sells a wide variety of telephone equipment, but people want proposals for everything from printer cartridges to digital video recorders and portable horse stalls.

Few of these requests are from genuine potential customers. Most are from thieves who -- after a few emails -- will try to get my company's bank account information, or will suggest a strange and complex transaction, so they can steal my company's money.

Sometimes, for the fun of it, I'll make up model numbers, and quote prices ranging from one tenth of normal to ten times normal. My prices are always acceptable. Some "buyers" even want to pay extra for "handling" or "expediting" or will insist on paying sales tax that is not due.

The names and addresses are usually weird. The "buyers" frequently have inverted names like Morgan Bill or Williams Sam. The initial emails use the awkward English common to most of the thieves. Some "buyers" are so stupid that they ask for my website address or (GASP!) email address.

  • This is Martin Dave With regards to your Company i am sending this email Regards to order some (sortable [sic] Horse Stalls)I will like to know the type and sizes you have in stock and get me the sales price of one so that i will tell you the quantity i will be ordering, and if you accept credit card as a form of payment..hope to read from you soon about my order request.
  • Hello, My name is MORGAN BILL, I want to order some product items from your  store to my below address in Cyprus but before i proceed, i will like to confirm the type of credit card you accept as payment (VISA OR MASTER CARD) and if you can ship to the below address. Please let me know asap, so i can  proceed with my request.
  • Greetings from Ocean Views Inc. My name is Joseph Baldwin the CEO of the company. i will like to place order on some products in your company,but i would like to know if you ship to Auckland,New Zealand and also do you accept Visa or Master card as method of payment? Please do not forget to include your web page in your replying back to my message and get back to me as fast as possible so that i can let you know the product i would like to order. Please email me back with your updated website.
  • My name is Davit Lee from Hotrac.Tech Singapore. I am interesting to order products from your store,I always believe your company can provide the best solution but before I go further,please allow me to ask you some questions below . . . Your confirmation is important to me , I hope you could confirm me with the fixed prices quotation.
  • Hello Good Day, This is Rev Danny .With regards to your Company i am sending this email Regards to order some ( Surge Protectors ) i will like to know the type and sizes you have in stock and get me the sales price of one so that i will tell you the quantity i will be ordering, and if you accept credit card as a form of payment.hope to read from you soon about my order request
  • My name is Jeff Witter, will like to know if you carry some Wall Jacks. I need the type or model of each you do have in stock and also the cost of one.. Reply me back with the type and model and let me advise the qty as soon as possible.I would also want to know the type of payment you do accept.Do not hesitate to reply me back with what you have in stock.i hope this finds you in good health and peace.Thank you and have a nice day.
  • Thanks for the total quote of my order.The total cost of my order is quite correct and okay by me and I'm ready to pay the bills send me an invoice via email and i will email you my Credit Card. But i just got a response from my shipping Agent that he cannot receive payment via credit or debit card from me at the moment. So i want you to help me Charge another $600 to a shipping agent who is going to pick up my ordered items from you. The $600 that will be sent to the shipping agent is for the shipping of my order plus other items i ordered from different countries which will be deduct from my credit card.Also, I'm compensating you with the sum of $100 for the transfer fee and for your efforts. Please note that i should have given the shipping agency my credit card for him to deduct the shipping funds but he told me that he doesn't have the facilities to charge or debit credit card,so that's why i bring my vote of confidence in you and i don't want you to betray the vote of confidence i put in you, so i want you to transfer the funds to him after you have make the charges and the money charged from my credit card is in your account,then you can now make the transfer to the agent via western union.i will have love to do this my self but there no western union here around me . . . Note that my credit card will be charged for the amounts above.Please do get back to me if you are in the office right now so that i can forward my credit card details to you , then you can charge full amount and transfer the agent funds to him via western union or money gram. Thanks for your co-operation & understanding. Hope to read from you ASAP. Thanks and God Bless you. Joseph Baldwin.
  • Dear sales, i want to place an order in your store,and i will like to know if you ship to JAPAN and my method of payment will be credit card. So please let me know if you can assist me with the order ,And please do not forget to include your web page in your replying back to my mail.I will await your prompt response as soon as you receive this mail
The streets and cities are often obvious phonies, and the area codes seldom match the states.

In a recent variation, the thieves want me to use an international freight carrier which they specify instead of FedEx or UPS.
  • One time the carrier was going to send a plane to land in my parking lot in Connecticut to pick up the equipment and then fly it to Nairobi.
  • Another time a carrier based in Texas was going to send a truck to me in Connecticut, drive the equipment back to Texas, and then fly it to Amsterdam.
I am supposed to advance thousands of dollars to the freight company. Sure.

The freight companies all have websites, poorly done, and frequently with the same descriptions copied from a real air freight company in India. The website addresses reveal that the phony companies have free website hosting.

Here are some pages for one of the alleged freight carriers. You can left-click to enlarge. Have a barf bag handy.

I sure hope there is no one stupid enough -- or desperate enough or greedy enough -- to agree to send money to freight company that advertises "your good's are safe" or has email addresses ending in "@usa.com," or "@london.com" or puts Michigan's area code in Texas or an address like "1700 Post Oak Blvdunstarred."


  1. just stupid why can't we all just get along

  2. Maybe there should be a charge for wasting precious bandwith. I love the stretched portrait.

  3. This just happened to us and our company from a Mr. Morgan Bill from Cyprus!!!! Thanks so much for posting this and helping me figure out that it was indeed a scam, as we thought. Is there anything that can be done to prosecute these people? Or someone to report this to?

  4. Morgan Bill is still at it!

    Thanks for posting the content of these scam emails so they show up in a google search for phrases from the emails.