Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to Phish Out Phishing Scams - I Love This One


A few years ago during some very lean times I posted a guest room available for short stays. Someone wanted to book the room for a few days. They sent a deposit cheque for a very large amount, asking me to cash it and give them the difference when they arrived. Was it a scam? Of course it was a scam. The letter and cheque came from the US but the cheque was a fraudulent one written on a Scotiabank account in Ontario. Envelope addy handwritten but letter was by a different hand. Beautiful handwriting, too! I reported the scam to the bank then I took all the paperwork and emails to the local cop shop and we all had a good laugh. 

And of course, because I couldn't get a coherent commit date for her arrival without several emails (I knew this was a scam btw) I finally just emailed her saying sorry the room was booked and no longer available. What address, please, so I can return the cheque. I never did get an answer to that one ... LOL

Here is the latest one and here is how I did my research. I've included names and sites here because it's all on the 'net and freely available. Read on:

Received a letter for a relative from a supposed lawyer regarding an inheritance from a Robert XXX (surname same as relative's), last address Knightsbridge, London. This is a scam. Did a little googling.

The letter is from a Thornhill, Ontario address from a Peter Meyers – QC. This address exists. Odd thing is that the return communications are through phone number and fax with UK numbers.

Looking at Google Maps it is an office building on Commerce Valley Drive East, Thornhill, Ontario (return address on envelope but not in letter and mailed from Canada).

I could not find a Peter Meyers QC listed in England or Canada. There is no Walton & Meyers LLP listed in UK phone directories or law firm lists.

The Brit phone number is not listed after a quick search of the number on Google. As this is supposedly a law firm, you’d think they would have a phone number. Poking around a little more reveals that if the number were from England it would be written as 44 20 323 … etc., instead of 44 (0) 203 239 xxxx. Area code 203 is, surprise surprise, in Connecticut.

The supposed inheritance is in the Butterfield Private Bank. The venerable bank exists. It’s in wiki. The founder is probably twitching in his venerable grave.
 
A little more searching. There is no law firm listed by this name in the UK or Canada or the USA.
Whois.DomainTools.com has a listing of all internet domain name changes. 
waltonmeyers.com was created on March 17th, 2012. It belongs to:

Domain Name.......... waltonmeyers.com
  Creation Date........ 2012-03-17
  Registration Date.... 2012-03-17
  Expiry Date.......... 2014-03-17
  Organisation Name.... virginia lemus
  Organisation Address. 8303 riverbirch drive
  Organisation Address. apt 207
  Organisation Address. 
  Organisation Address. charlotte
  Organisation Address. 28210
  Organisation Address. NC

  Organisation Address. UNITED STATES

Google www.waltonmeyers.com and you see “This site is under construction”. Umm … A law firm website under construction for one year!!! Yeah, right.

Results.beenverified.com shows many Virginias with several aka’s, none in Charlotte, NC. Doesn’t mean she is not there, just that she is not listed as being there.

How it works is, you contact “Peter Meyers” aka Virginia, by fax because the phone number is screwy or you leave a message because "no one is available to take your call at the moment. Please leave a message". Or you send a reply to the supplied email addy. The firm's "secretary" now has your phone number and probably your email addy because you were silly enough to supply them to a complete stranger. 

The scammers/hackers/she will contact you after fishing around to discover if you have money because of course processing the inheritance, with them as go-betweens and executors, will cost you money. You understand of course that because the paperwork  all goes through the bank's "authorized" US offices and thence back and forth to London, there will be costs involved. Please send XXX dollars. Please send more. Please, there is a hold up for additional fees so send me everything you have in all your banks accounts. Oh, so sorry! A  claimant with closer ties to the “deceased" has suddenly appeared. No further correspondence is possible due to the privacy laws in place. And because they have moved on to other fishing grounds y'all ain't gonna get a refund. 

Looking at the domain registration it would appear Virginia gives this particular scam a 2 year shelf life.

And Virginia laughs all the way to the bank. Not Butterfield’s though.

Bye bye, have a nice day, y’all. 

Sept 2014 UPDATE: Just got another one! From some yahoo supposedly in Togo with a yahoo! email addy. Again, (this time they don't even have a name for the dead relative), no identification, return office address, etc.
 ________

"Dear Friend,

My name is Barrister Ben Martins, a solicitor at law. I have an
important message for you concerning the death of your relative, and
he funds US$ 9.6 million and 25kg of gold bar which he left behind in
bank here in my country (Togo). He died On the 30TH of April 2008 in a
fatal accident, All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their
lives. Contact me for full details at(benmartins203@yahoo.com)

Enclose the following information's Below.

SEND YOUR INFORMATION BELOW TO ME:

FIRST NAME:...............................
LAST NAME:................................
DATE OF BIRTH:............................
OCCUPATION:...............................
TELEPHONE NUMBER:.........................
CITY:....................................
COUNTRY:..................................
EMAIL ADDRESS:............................

I am waiting for your urgent reply in my private email address
(benmartins203@yahoo.com)


Your's Sincerely
Ben Martins- (Esq)
Telephone;+228 9022 8004."

December 14, 2015 - Just received another one! These guys just never quit. $10.5M, eh? *Turns around and walks away.

lomaxbrowepersonalattorney11@gmail.com (jacksonwhite19@gmail.com)
Greeting:xxxxxxxxx

I write to you in good faith,a solicitor at law,personal attorney to
(late) Mr,R.xxxxxxxx,who worked with Shell Development Company in
lome-Togo for more than twenty years,On the 2nd of June 2009, he and
His wife and only daughter were involved in an automobile accident.Your
Assistance is needed in repatriating the fund valued US$10.5M) left
Behind by my client After these several unsuccessful attempts to locate
This family.
I decided to contact you since my client died without testified
Any(WILL).
For more details contacted.
E.mail,lomaxbroweatlaw7@gmail.com

Thanks for your prompt response.
Lomax Chambers & Partners.L.L.B
Corporate Office.
Address km 220 Airport Rd.
Lome-Togo West African.
Barr,Lomax Browe
________

Here are few links to organizations that track internet fraud:

http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/english/recognizeit_inheritance.html

http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/848613

http://www.snopes.com/fraud/advancefee/inherit.asp

http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/fraud/types-of-fraud/common-scams/inheritance-fraud
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