Friday, October 26, 2007

Email scam!

Many of you guys would have recieved spam mails by some rich guy in Nigeria (or some such place) wanting to offload money and asking your help in doing so. I was not sure of the consequences if I had gone with the scheme. What could the money transfer do to me anyway? I learnt it the hard way.. well I did not goof up.. instead it was my roommate who did it few months ago.

Few months ago, before moving out(after graduation), we decided to sublease our house. My room mate, lets call him XYZ, took the initiative of finding someone. He posted ads on craigslist, various user groups, mailing lists and what not. Finally one day he victoriously declared that he had found a hot blonde from London who wanted to move in a month early and was ready to pay $4000 (our rent was $810.. I smelled rat but who was I to dampen his spirit). Quite surprisingly, within a week or so he got a check for $4000. Since that was gonna be shared amongst us, I kept my suspicion under covers and joined the celebration.

(This part of the story was revealed to me after it happened).
A week later XYZ was contacted by the girl saying that the rent was not fair and that she had checked out various websites and wanted a fair deal. Being the "decent guy" XYZ is.. he agreed to pay $3000 back and since, supposedly the English blonde was low on cash, XYZ money ordered it to her. And then the inevitable happened.. the cheque bounced. XYZ got conned of $3000 which ended up eating up all his savings and cancellation of his credit cards connected with that account. The bank did not want to help in the case of an international fraud.. neither did the police. The school lawyer could only help so far as filing a report with the police and putting up a public notice letting students know that email scam threat is very real.

As sorry I was for XYZ, I was amused and curious as hell. I asked him to forward me few of the emails. Email scammers are not as high tech as spammers so analyzing the emails was quite easy. All I had to do was to do a geo lookup of the MTA ip address. The IP addresses pointed to some location in Mexico.. not London.

Generally these cases go unnoticed because people dont want others to know. I called XYZ yesterday and he told me that he saved 5 other friends from similar scams. These scams are not as uncommon as you think... so beware of trolls on various public lists.


  1. Wow, I'm really sorry for XYZ, but that's a pretty interesting scam.
    Hot blonde from London, heh. Who would want to downgrade from London to Syracuse?

  2. well.. the premise was that she was to come to syr for some "project" and did not care about the money as her company was paying relocation.
    HSBC gobbled up the money we paid him(for the rent) to cover up his credit card charges to make the things worse..

  3. @Nishesh: Dont remember the name. I dont think they'll keep the same name for different scams

  4. Sorry for XYZ dude...
    Hey i also had got sumthg like tht from nigeria stating i won a lottery of huge amount and all but thanks to sum enlightment on issues like these i didt pay those chaps...
    Luking forward for responce at
    hope we both can be regulars at each others blog.