When I am bored, I answer to scam emails (I use a dedicated “junk” gmail for that)
Some time ago, an alleged billionaire, old and dying, sent me an email, saying that she has a lot of money in an African bank to give to a random person in the world, so I said that I am interested!
I answered giving my name, mobile phone number and bank data (all fictitious; the mobile phone number is a SIM card that I got as a freebie in an Xmas cake).
The old lady told me that she would send me 3800 euro, as soon as possible!
Yay! Free money!
After a few days I get an email from email@example.com saying that the bank transfer is ready to be sent, but there are 885 euro of taxes to be paid via Western Union. (Maybe BNP Paribas it’s a small bank, they don’t accept bank transfers? LOL)
Oh noes! My free money!
I reply: “How I can know that this is not a scam? Can I get a certificate?”
After a few hours I get this certificate:
I don’t know about you, but to my eyes this is screaming “HEYYYY I AM A SCAMMMMMMM”
It’s a Photoshop Master as this:
I took a 10 minutes pause to stop laughing and I answer: “seems legit, can you call me tomorrow to discuss payment details?
The day after, at 7.30 AM I get a phone call on my mobile (a call to an italian mobile phone number costs a lot!! Even if he is using Skype, he is paying 15 cent/minute!)
I say: “Mr. XXX is busy now, can you wait for a while?” I place the phone near to the radio speakers playing a song and I go to have breakfast.
When I am back, he is still waiting! “Hi, I am sorry, but Mr. XXX is still busy, please try again tomorrow”,I say, hanging up.
Later I write him an email, saying that, as we agreed by phone call, they can send the 3800 euro minus the 885 fee, without sending the “tax” money in a separate payment.
He didn’t answer me…
I also sent an email to the old granny saying to send me money via Western Union instead of bank transfer, but she also didn’t reply… maybe she died… hahaha
To my eyes, this is a blatant scam, but, when I showed the fake certificates to my colleagues, they said it looked legitimate… so I write what’s wrong and what should play the “scam alert” in your head:
- A billionaire that gives free money to a stranger – it’s wonderful but this happens only in dreams.
- A bank that sends email using Yahoo Mail (@ymail.com) – a custom domain costs $10/year, no bank in the world is so poor unprofessional to use a free account.
- A bank that asks money via Western Union – a bank that doesn’t accepts bank transfers? What?
- Asking money to send money – Why they can’t just send less money? Real banks do like this. When I withdrew from Pepperstone, the intermediary bank took, without asking me, a 10% fee (Aaaaaaaaaaa! 10% to bank, 20% in taxes, 30 euro to Pepperstone for fees, I got just 25 euro left for six months trading…)
- The BNP Paribas logo in the “certificate” is deformed and pixelated, it’s not compliant with the brand guidelines.
- BNP Paribas is written as “BNP Pari bas”
- The “certificate” is made with PowerPoint, with fake WordArt stamps: it doesn’t make sense