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Email Sillies – Dumb Things I Get Sent To Me

January 20, 2015

I could write a long book on the State of the Art of Spam with plenty of examples.  Sadly, it is something that many people could probably benefit from reading.  Today I am going to address one small aspect of this subject because it annoys me more than anything else has in a long while.

Spam works because people get the idea that they are being offered something that is a good deal.  So, a few people out of millions that receive some ad jump on it and buy something.  It only works because the costs of sending millions of emails is nearly zero – assuming you aren’t paying someone thousands of dollars to do it for you.

But there are other types of emails that fall in the same category as spam but aren’t advertisements at all.  I’m ignoring the “click this link” malware distribution and that sort of thing.  Today I want to address the bogus offer emails that I see pretty frequently.  It starts out simply enough with an offer to buy something from my company:

‌‌Hello

Good day and how are you? I am writing from Ausparts Group in Australia to make a few inquiries.

  1. Do you ship overseas? I already know of a freight forwarder that will pick up my packages from your store. Their service is cheaper than that of any other courier, and they are effective in shipping my goods to me here in Queensland, Australia. Shipping time is estimated to be 3-4 days.
  1. I have used their services in the past, and it was splendid. Do you accept credit cards for payment? I have U.S. Visa and Mastercard. Send me a response with your contact details: email, website, and land and mobile phone numbers. Kindly let me know your answers to these questions before I send details about the items I am interested in purchasing from you.

Best Regards,

Barry Egan.

You will notice that at no time does Mr. Egan ever say what he wants to buy.  I am not sure if Ausparts Group exists in Australia, but I am pretty sure that there isn’t anyone named Barry Egan that works there.  This came from a Gmail address.

Think about this for a moment and you might get a little concerned.  What if you work for a company where lots of products are sold and the sales staff gets emails all the time from customers wanting to buy stuff?  Could one of these emails get taken seriously?

So what is the problem with this?  Well, from experience and many years of intensive spam training, the problem is going to be with the credit card.  What they want to happen is some bunch of stuff gets charged to a credit card and handed off to the courier service.  The credit card turns out to be fraudulent and the stuff gets sold off on EBay or Craigslist.  I am sure it never makes its way to Australia.  Of course, the seller gets stuck with the bill for this plus a chargeback fee for the bogus credit card.

Just for laughs I responded to one of these and said in an email that we had a product that would fit their needs just fine: recycled condoms.  Talk about yuk factor… Anyway, the reply said that a box of 50,000 recycled condoms was $1000 per box, so how many did they want?  I got a reply back that they would like to order five boxes of recycled condoms for a total of $5,000.  See, it is true that you can sell anything on the Internet.

We have dealt with logistics companies in our dealings with various customers before.  In all cases we ship to the logistics company’s location and they then deliver the package to the customer.  We have never had anyone come to pick up a package like what the email was proposing and I have never heard of anyone doing business like that.  So that should be the first thing right off that is a huge warning.

The lack of any real contact information is another red flag.  No “signature” with phone numbers or company information.  The email supposedly came from Gmail rather than a company email address.  All of these things say FRAUD pretty loudly.

The reason I get at least one of these a week is because people are falling for this scam – it works.  I have done searching on the web for other people posting information about this scam and I haven’t seen anything, so I thought I would post this.  It is a bit off topic, but I think it serves a useful function for people.  Please don’t fall for a scam like this.

If you run across this posting and find it interesting, please leave a comment or send me an email.  I might write some more about the email I get in the future if there is enough interest.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert permalink
    March 19, 2015 2:03 pm

    I received one today from Francisco Santos of Ausparts Group. There is an Ausparts Group in Australia, but I doubt they know our friend Francisco.

  2. June 3, 2015 2:38 pm

    We been victimized by this type of Scam: The following is how an inquiry should be answered, If the inquiry is legediment the person will respond, but do not take a credit card, period and be careful of wire transfers they can be recalled.

    How to respond:

    To begin a business relationship our company will only accept wire transfers in advance of order acceptance as to be specified on our Performa Invoice. We do not accept credit card, debit card or prepaid card transactions for products sold overseas. At first we will begin to do business by wire transfer only. After we determine the viability of our business relationship will accept payments by letters of credit with Payment on a Documentary, Confirmable, and Irrevocable Letter of Credit in US dollars drawn on an acceptable United States Bank, typically valid for one hundred eighty days post shipping of our plant. Depending on the scope and finical size of our project a down payment may be required when a letter of credit is to be used as our finical document.

    We will only quote and ship through the local office of our freight forwarder, BDG International, to customers outside the United States. We will allow the customer to arrange for Cartridge and Freight. HydroTec systems Company, Inc., will not request or do business with any forwarder besides our chosen forwarder. Our products will be quoted Ex-Works with CIF charges from BDG International as an option.

    If you are interested in pursuing a business relationship on the above bases we would be pleased to quote products from our MobileH2O™ product line. Information on our MobileH2O™ line of products may be found on our web site http://www.purehts.com.
    Products outside our Mobile line of softeners and filters may not be available for sale from HydroTec Systems Company, Inc.

    Our products are designed to be used on locations such as Australia. They are portable and easily serviced. We would request a consultation between us, before quoting, if you agree that that our Mobile products fit into your customer base on the nation of Australia.

    • June 4, 2015 7:18 am

      Thanks Will. Excellent script for anyone that needs some pointers.

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