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by Chris Durst Sep. 7, 2017
In the last installment, I convinced the scammer that I had deposited their bogus check and, per their instructions, had wired $2,550 to a person in Mississippi. BUT, I actually only wired $1 because I wanted to get the attention of the recipient (a victim, not part of the con).
So, with that, let’s dig in…
(My thoughts about the chat appear in red text.)
FRIDAY MORNING 9:17AM
(Before I begin, I should tell you that I brought our contact at the FTC into the loop on this from the start. It’s fun to play with scammers, but it’s much more satisfying when you can bring them down.
Now that we have everything we need to slam the door on these guys, I am prepared to reveal myself to them.)
[SCAMpire] Good morning Christine, how are you doing today ?
[Me] I’m okay. How are you?
[SCAMpire] I am doing very well Christine, thanks for asking
[Me] Of course I asked Ronald. After all, we’re great friends now aren’t we? Don’t you feel that way? That we need to take care of each other? (Ha! Since I am about to drop the hammer on this guy, I want to play with him a bit more while I have the chance. Remember, he thinks I deposited his bad check and he knows that if I don’t do what he wants me to do within the next 12 hours or so, my bank will spot the issue and contact me.)
[SCAMpire] Christine is the is a personal question
[Me] Yes it is a personal question. I just feel as though after what happened yesterday we are friends.
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[SCAMpire] Christine we understand you perfectly well and we want to acknowledged that we have a close working relationship together (Love the “we” in all of his replies, but it’s especially funny in this case.)
[Me] That’s very nice. I agree.
[SCAMpire] Good to hear Christine
[Me] I will be calling this morning to get a refund on the money that was not given to Miss Miller. I will have them transfer the money to my Capital One card.
[Me] Hopefully they cooperate. If they do not agree to put it on my Capital One card what should I request for them to do?
[SCAMpire] Christine we kindly require you to proceed to the Walmart Center which the funds was sent and ask for a refund in cash for us to proceed further Okay ?
[Me] You changed your mind again? Last night you told me I should call RIA.
[Me] Okay. Okay. Okay. I’m going to get dressed and I’m going to go to Walmart and I’m going to at request a refund in cash. (I am not planning to go to Walmart, of course, but I’d like to keep him on the hooks a bit longer.)
[SCAMpire] Alright Christine, notify us once the funds has been refunded
90 minutes later…
[Me] Okay. I was at Walmart and the manager who is currently on staff is unable to handle that transaction for me. I have to go back this afternoon when her boss is in. He will be able to handle my refund.
[Me] Do you acknowledge?
[SCAMpire] Yes Christine we understand you perfectly well
[SCAMpire] Do notify us once you have the refund
[Me] Of course.
[SCAMpire] Christine, XXX Walker is heading to the Walmart Center to acknowledged the sent funds ( yesterday’s funds transfer) as we continue our best to received the transfer. (At this point, I have no idea whether Miss Walker is back in play or if she is toying with the scammers too.)
[SCAMpire] We need you to be close to your mobile device for a short call that will be made to you for the verification process of receiving funds to be completed
[Me] Ok who will be calling me?
[Me] Is it Miss Walker who will be calling me?
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[SCAMpire] Miss Walker and a customer care agent will be making a short call to you for Ms Walker to be able to receive the funds Okay ?
[Me] I will be waiting for the call
[SCAMpire] Acknowledged Christine
1 hour later…
[Me] I’m still waiting. No phone call yet.
[SCAMpire] Christine we need you to be connected to your mobile device for your call ( it will be taking some little time)
[Me] Okay. I’m still waiting.
another hour passes…
[Me] I’m still waiting. I have some errands to run so I’m just going to take my phone with me.
[SCAMpire] Christine you can proceed with your daily scheduled and have your mobile device close to you for your the call that you’ll be receiving
and another hour…
[Me] Listen, I have to go into a doctor’s appointment very shortly. While I’m in the doctor’s office I’m not going to be able to answer my phone. I don’t know what the delay is.
[Me] This is starting to get a little ridiculous Ronald. Can you please tell me what’s going on?
[Me] Is Miss Walker at Walmart or not? (She MUST be playing games with them at this point. If not, I would be getting a call. Good on ya’, Miss Walker!)
[Me] It’s been several hours since you told me she was going right away to Walmart
[SCAMpire] Christine, Ms Walker was unable to receive the funds and you’ll be needed to make a refund once you’re done with your appointment at the doctor’s
[Me] Seriously? They didn’t even call me. How come nobody called?
[Me] Just so I know, what did they say the problem is? Can you tell me what the people at Walmart told Miss Walker? That way I have the whole story when I go to my local Walmart for a refund.
[SCAMpire] She wasn’t able to receive the funds (Mmm-hmmm. I’ll bet that’s because her trip to Walmart was as fictitious as mine.)
[Me] Right. I understand that. But can you tell me why?
[Me] Whatever. I will stop at Walmart when I get out of the doctor’s office. I will contact you as soon as I have the money.
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[Me] Okay. I’m on my way to Walmart. I will be there in just a few minutes.
[Me] Are you there Ronald? (He’s a lot slower in responding now. I suspect they’re in a panic about how to handle this now that the clock is winding down on their bad check being exposed.)
[Me] Okay. I’m going into Walmart now. Please be on stand-by because I’m going to need to know what to do when I get the money. I don’t want to have to come back again
[SCAMpire] Acknowledged Christine
[Me] Thank you. I’m at the counter right now so please stand by
[Me] So, you just want me to ask for a refund is that correct? Or did you need for me to send the money back to Miss Walker?
[SCAMpire] Yes Christine
[SCAMpire] Ask for a refund
[Me] They are checking with the company to make sure that the money was not picked up in Mississippi (Just making this stuff up to make them sweat it a bit more.)
[SCAMpire] Alright Christine
[Me] Okay! I have the money! That was much easier than I thought it would be.
[SCAMpire] Acknowledged Christine
[Me] Hey, Ronald. Since we are such dear friends, there’s something I need to tell you.
[SCAMpire] What is it you need to say Christine?
[Me] Well… actually, there’s something I want you to do for me?
[SCAMpire] Alright. Do tell us what this is you need.
[Me] I really need you to watch this and tell me what you think. It’s just a very short video and it’s very important. OK?
[SCAMpire] Why are you do this Christine?
[Me] Please just do me this favor and then I will be ready for my next step. OK? The link is here https://youtu.be/JB1nq-dRAkk (The link leads to a video of clips from various television appearances in which I am discussing scams.)
[SCAMpire] I will do this Christine. Stand by.
[Me] Thank you. It is a video of me and you will be very surprised. I promise. 😉
[SCAMpire] This is a very nice video. I am happy to see you.
[Me] Yeah, I thought you might like it.
[Me] What should I do next, Ronald?
[SCAMpire] Christine we’ll like to confirm if you have a Money Gram closest to you
[Me] Yes. I can get to one easily.
[SCAMpire] Acknowledged Christine, we need you to proceed to that place and notify us once you’re done
[SCAMpire] We’ll be providing you with instructions on how to go about that
[SCAMpire] Acknowledged Christine,
[Me] Ronald. Did you really watch that video? I don’t think you did.
[Me] I want you to watch it right now. I will go to the store after you really watch it. OK?
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[SCAMpire] We watching it now. Thank you.
10 minutes later…
20 minutes later…
[Me] How shall I proceed? You seem to have disappeared Ronald. Something I said?
30 minutes later…
[Me] Aw. What’s the matter, Ronnie? Did you finally figure it out that I had YOU figured it out from the very start?
[Me] It’s no fun when people play games with your time is it?
[Me] If that surprised you, just wait to see what’s coming next! GOTCHA!
At this point, I received a Google Hangouts error message – “Message not delivered.” The scammers removed me from their contact list.
So ends my interview with the SCAMpire.
All humor aside, the threat is real and these guys are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from job seekers who think they’ve finally landed their dream job.
It is my most sincere hope that people will learn to recognize the tactics used by this type of scammer and get out before it’s too late. Be safe, dear Rebels!
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