There are a ton of computer scams targeting all types of people. Some come in the form of emails claiming to provide something in exchange for a small sum with the goal of stealing that small sum. Others come as a instant message from a friend’s compromised account asking for financial help due to some bogus emergency. There are too scams many to prevent however we can all come together and start investing efforts to waste spammers time. This way they are not using their time to trick another person. One group that has come together with this goal is the 419 Eater found HERE.
In this post, I’ll show you how I like to have fun messing with spammers.
The 419 Eaters encourages scambaiting, which they define as the act of initiating dialog with a spammer with the goal of wasting their time. The benefits from this includes becoming more educated in spammer tactics, wasting their time so they are not talking to somebody else and pure good old fun. There are many ways to get involved in scambating however I’ll give you one approach you can take. Its funny because now I look forward to receiving spam!
First off, you should create a new email account that is not tied to your real email or has any real data associated to it. For example, I’ll create a fake gmail account using two very common names as shown. Meet William aka Willy! Good old Willy.
Next, you should start placing that email in places spammer will find it. The 419 Eaters suggest using a Google search for guest books and placing the email there. Now this means you are spamming possible innocent guest books so be careful not to become the enemy. I like to just use spam from my real accounts.
In my example, I’ll just got to one of my real email accounts and pick out a spam email. Next I’ll start contact from my fake email so they don’t know it came from my real email. Here is an example of me doing this. I found some “Russian single” looking to meet Mr. right online. Most likely this will start with some back and forth emails but eventually she will need something. Lets see what happens. Here is my first contact to this scammer.
After that it is on. I write something short and dumb such as “Hey I like pancakes”. She writes about going to the zoo, her friend being sick, her father beating her and so on. After a few emails I write “Texas has lots of super Walmarts” and “I have a weird fungus on my large toe”, then I become her loved willy that heats up her soul … wow.
Every email she sends has pictures of the “Russian” single. When I ask who is taking the model pictures, I don’t get a answer. Eventually they want something … in this case my phone number to start gathering real information. Obviously I don’t want to give that out so I start asking questions. First “how about we use skype”? Answer: I don’t have a computer, I write from work. I offer to mail a computer but need her address. They respond “Please send your phone number”. I ask where she lives in Russa and for her number so I can call. I get “Sorry no”. In the end, I gather a bunch of emails representing a fake story line, photos of some Russian Chick I can use for my own attacks in the future and hopefully some of their time wasted.
Things to look for from Spammers
There are many indicators that you are probably receiving a scam request. I posted about some of these found on Craigslist HERE. The 419 Eaters provides the follow examples of Scams and tips of what to look for.
Does somebody want to transfer millions of dollars into your account?
Does someone want to pay you to cash cheques and send them the money?
Met a new friend/penpal on a friendship/dating site who’s asking you for money?
Has a dying person contacted you wanting your help to give his money to charity?
Have you sold an item and are asked to accept a payment larger than the item amount?
- In almost every case there is a sense of urgency.
- The victim is enticed to travel to Nigeria or a border country.
- There are many forged official looking documents.
- Most of the correspondence is handled by fax or through the mail.
- Blank letterheads and invoices are requested from the victim along with the banking particulars.
- Any number of Nigerian fees are requested for processing the transaction with each fee purported to be the last required.
- The confidential nature of the transaction is emphasized.
- There are usually claims of strong ties to Nigerian officials.
- A Nigerian residing in the U.S., London or other foreign venue may claim to be a clearing house bank for the Central Bank of Nigeria.
- Offices in legitimate government buildings appear to have been used by impostors posing as the real occupants or officials.
The most common forms of these fraudulent business proposals fall into the following main categories:
- Disbursement of money from wills
- Contract fraud (C.O.D. of goods or services)
- Purchase of real estate
- Conversion of hard currency
- Transfer of funds from over invoiced contracts
- Sale of crude oil at below market prices
Be careful when playing this game and have fun. Hopefully you and others like you can help slow down these people from swindling honest people.