Thursday, 19 November 2009

Scammer ping pong: how to play with an email scammer

So I decided to sell my Ford Laser, and I listed it on a used car website. I was promptly contacted by a Nigerian scammer who called himself Nicholas Smart (nicholaszx002@yahoo.com). I was feeling bored at the time, so I decided to have a bit of fun with him. Below is a sample of our email exchange. I call this game Scammer Ping Pong: hours of fun for the whole family!

Hi there, i will like to make an offer $5,900 for this, i will be happy if you accept my offer, payments will be through paypal and i will arrange the pick up well.

Cheers,
Nicholas

Dear Nicholas,

Thanks for your interest in the car. If you’d like to arrange a time to come and see it, you can call me on my mobile number.

Cheers,
Ben
Hi thanks for mailing back,i am an oceanographer, i am at sea right now,i am buying this for my son as a surprise gift and I am glad you accepted my offer.I can only pay through paypal at the moment as i dont have access to my bank account online(i dont have internet banking with it),but i have it attached to my paypal account, and this is why i insisted on using paypal to pay,all i will need is your paypal email address to make the payments,and if you dont have a paypal account yet,its pretty easy to set one up at www.paypal.com.au,i will be expecting your email.I have a pick up agent that will come for the pick up after payments has been sorted.

Cheers,
Nicholas

Hi Nicholas,

OK, thanks for letting me know. Since you won’t get to see the car before purchasing it, I want to be completely honest with you: the photos I listed were taken a few years ago. Since then, the car has been in a few accidents. But it still runs fine.

Cheers,
Ben
Ok, its no problem if it runs fine. thanks for letting me know. Just send your paypal email asap so that i can make the payment together.

Cheers,
Nicholas

Thanks, Nicholas. I must admit, the car was also involved in a minor fire recently. So the colour is no longer white. It’s more of a dark grey. But it still looks great. Two of the tyres were also destroyed in the fire, so it will need a couple of new tyres. And part of the roof was burned away, so the seats can get a bit damp when it rains. But the car runs perfectly. Anyway, you seem like a nice guy. So for you, I’d be happy to drop the price down to $5,800. Would you like me to send some more recent photos of the car?

Thanks,
Ben
Thanks alot for that. Its just what i am looking for.....There is know problem, i will get that fix for my son.....There is no need of sending me any pics again when you have already explain the condition for me. Just get back to me with your paypal so that i can just make the payment. Looking forward to read from you soon.
Great, thanks Nicholas! I should also just check with you: I hope your son is not allergic to seafood? My wife and I own a seafood shop, and we use the car to transport seafood from the markets. Usually we fill the backseat with fish, crabs, lobsters and squid. We do this a few times each week, so there is a bit of a fishy smell. Some people find the smell unpleasant — but my wife and I don’t even notice it. As long as your son isn’t allergic to seafood, I doubt he’ll even notice the smell once he has been using the car for a while. (Obviously there are also some seafood stains on the backseat. And the interior of the boot is a bit oily, since we usually keep the oysters back there. But the front of the car is nice and clean, as good as new. I’ve removed all the old prawn heads from the glove compartment, so that’s also nice and clean.)

So please could you confirm that your son has no seafood allergies? I feel responsible to tell you about this, since you seem like a very trusting person. I’d hate for your son to have an allergic reaction to the car.

Cheers,
Ben
Ok seafood is no problem. It will be perfect for my son..... Thanks alot for telling me. Get back to me with your paypal email so that i can make the payment.
Dear Nicholas,

We’re leaving for vacation tomorrow, so we’d still love to sell you the car if you’re able to send payment today. Someone else came and looked at the car today. He was very rude when he saw that the engine was missing, and he offered me $75 for the car. I think this was a very unfair price, especially since the car has great sentimental value to my wife and me. But I still feel that I may have been a bit unfair to you. So if you’d still like to buy the car for your son, I will lower the price to $5,500. Would you like to go ahead with the sale?

Thanks,
Ben
OK, i will be happy with $5500, its a good price. Get back to me asap with your paypal email and i will make the payment.

--
As our emails continued to hurtle back and forth, I also tried to get him to send me a photo of himself, and I tried to scam him out of $2. But alas, this was unsuccessful – better luck next time!

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