The past week has been a story idea in the making. On Friday I received a PM from a scammer posing as my mother. It was obviously not my mother since she barely knows how to use FB. She certainly wouldn’t know how to setup a new account which this scammer was using. (FB told me it was a new account.) And the English could only be that of someone who doesn’t speak it as a first language or even a fourth language.
That poor soul has now been begging for $500 for the past week. I don’t recall what the person is claiming they need the money for, but I’m not making it easy for them.
Through a series of messages, I have weaved a web of lies including a 5 billion dollar deal I’m currently brokering in Paris. There is also a guinea pig named Chelsea, an Agent Coulson, and Susan from the Parish Council who have made an appearance in this tale.
It’s not all lies though. The bronchitis that I’ve been dealing with for the past three weeks is real as is the reporting account information I receive being reported to banks for flagging.
This is not my first scammer that I’ve strung along in order to get account information and such in order to report the accounts to their respective bank’s fraud division. I suspect the accounts are those of marks that have already unfortunately fell victim. If I can do a tiny bit of good by helping these people out, I think it’s worth my time.
The number of scammers running these scams is crazy. Just this morning I received an email to my bookstore (https://deadtree.online) trying to get information from me about a nonexistent order that was placed. It’s not going to happen.
Don’t get caught by scammers.
- If you didn’t initiate the contact, assume all contact, regardless of who it’s from, is not from the person they are pretending to be. It doesn’t matter if it’s a PM, an email, a letter, text, whatever. Identities can be faked. Phone numbers can be faked. Never trust anyone online.
- NEVER give out personal information, passwords or bank account information to anyone that initiates contact. NEVER verify information if the information they do have is correct or incorrect. The best course of action is to ignore all requests. If they do have your bank account information DO NOT confirm that it’s correct or incorrect. Immediately contact your bank and report it to them.
- Call the person, company, agency using their primary phone number, not the one given to you in the message. Ask them if they sent you a message, called, etc.
- Report. Report. Report. If someone contacts you via social media asking for money, report the conversation to FB. It will get taken down. The scammer will create a new account, but keep doing it with each contact. If they get shut out enough times, maybe they’ll quit trying.
If someone sends you bank account info, report it to the bank’s fraud dept. You can find out which bank the account number is for by typing Googling “Routing Number” and the number. Each bank has a number assigned to it. Then Google the bank name and “Fraud Dept”. If nothing comes up call the bank branch and tell them you want to report fraud. They’ll contact you with the correct person.
- You can also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (https://www.ic3.gov)
These stories are going to get novelized, so keep a look out for it. And stay safe out there. Remember…Trust No One!
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