There must be a scam email training course or manual floating around because I am amazed at how similar they are. Here is the process broken down for you. I will also point out that I fixed most of the grammatical errors as well. So don’t be surprised if you see a direct copy coming to your email box soon.
The introductory email
My name is xxxx. I am interested in purchasing items from your store. I would like to confirm that you ship to <insert some out of the way location here>. Please get back to me with your web site and prices so that we can place a big order with you.
And we have our own shipper who handles all of our shipping because of how remote we are. If this is all good then please let me know which credit cards you accept so that we can try some stolen numbers with you”
It doesn’t matter that logically they came from the web site so why would they aski for the web site. It also doesn’t matter that all the prices are on the web site. What matters is that the email identifies greedy people who are after the big order.
The second paragraph is to ensure that they do take fake credit cards, otherwise it is all a waste of time.
The grooming email
If they receive a reply, then the next email is to groom the victim:
“Can you please quote for x,y and z
I will be arranging the pick up of this order directly from your location by my own carrier. I have worked with them in the past and their delivery is fast and effective. Please email or provide an invoice for the goods only, not the shipping. And please let me know the weight and dimensions of the items.
Also please let me know if the items are in stock and also indicate the date that the order can be collected by my carrier.
I await you reply so once the quote is received and confirmed I can forward you my credit card information and you can being the process of my order”
The quote needs to be large enough for a greedy person to become caught hook, line and sinker, but not too large as to scare them off or alert them that this could be a suspicious deal. The fact that the scam artist has no idea what the products are is reflected in the random collection of items they put on the order, but it’s not about the items, it’s about the $$$$.
The rest is there to show committment to the sale and start to provide a sense of urgency. And once again the reminder about the credit card processing.
The hook email
“Quote was received and confirmed. My carrier will be arranging the collection of the goods at the given location that will be provided by you. Adequate arrangement will be done by my collector to avoid the shipping responsibilities or difficulties that may be involved in handling all paper work in shipping my merchandise to <insert country here>. Since its an international order, my carrier will provide all necessary documentation and permits required for the exportation of my order. They will also handle the custom duties, tax and insurance required for the transportation all this will be billed to me. Due to the nature of my shipment i was charged <insert excessive amount here> for the shipping.
The shipping agent presently don’t accept credit card for payment here in <insert country>. They are presently upgrading their credit card facilities. If you can kindly assist me in charging the shipping fee on my credit card account, you will then generate a purchase order for my shipping company and a commercial invoice will be sent in return. As soon has you have the funds posted into your account you can prepay them. You can then transfer the shipping fees to the shipping agency’s office. Once they confirm they will appoint their representative who will schedule the pick up. Please understands that it isn’t your responsibility to do this, but i propose you be of an assistant and if it will cost any amount do let me know. If there is a surcharge fee for this transaction kindly notify me immediately and I will be responsible for the cost. Please note that I would have loved to do this my self but am out station, so all the charges can be deducted on my credit card account details once i securely provide them to you. Sothe breakdown will be as follows.
ORDER COST: $<Big order amount>
SHIPPING FEE : $<Overpriced shipping amount>
TRANSFER FEE : $<Token amount to appear generous>
TOTAL COST : $<Total>
Note that my credit card will be charged for the amounts above. Kindly get back to me if you are in the office right now so that i can email you with my credit card details securely so that the total due can be taken, as soon as the shipper receive the payment, they will prepare the paper works and then schedule the pick up time at your facility.”
Now they have someone else processing their stolen credit card numbers to see which ones are still active, and they are using your merchant facillity to do the checking. In the best scenario it will work, and they will have you then transfer thousands of dollars to their “shipping agent”.
Next you tell them that the money has been received so they now know the credit card is still good. That’s the second prize.
Then you may process the card to pay for the goods. At this stage it would be very interesting to know if they would ever send a courier to pick up the goods.
But the final prize is if the card does fail. Then they can apologise and provide another card. Of course it will be in another person’s name, but that is when they then inform you that the MD or customer or sales rep is from US or the UK and to use their card instead.
And don’t go to the banks for help
At this stage you would think it is a major credit card scam and the banks would be keen to help.
They can’t tell you if a card is likely to be legitimate or stollen. In fact, they don’t even want to be told that you have cards that are likely to have been stollen. The only way you can find out if the card is good or not is by processing it.
And paying the fee if it bounces. Or having the hassle if it later gets rejected.
So while this scam is very obvious, the more successful and subtle ones are harder to protect yourself against. The banks don’t help when it comes to international credit card transactions.
Or maybe it is just the bank I am with. Which bank I hear you ask.
To the people who send me these scam emails
Thank you for the entertainment you have provided, but they really are getting boring now. Please take me off your mailing list.
To the people who actually wanted to buy something and I just pointed you to this blog to get my prices
You may want to change your wording in your initial email. I am sure you will find what you are after on this site.