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Separated at birth?

Scammers love a scam that works. In the Purportal scammy spam collection we see lots of repeats -- messages that are nearly identical. Check out this list of similar spams and note the differences. Which one do you think is the more effective?

  1. Exhibit A / Exhibit B
  2. Exhibit A / Exhibit B
  3. Exhibit A / Exhibit B
  4. Exhibit A / Exhibit B
  5. Exhibit A / Exhibit B
  6. Exhibit A / Exhibit B
  7. Exhibit A / Exhibit B
  8. Exhibit A / Exhibit B
  9. Exhibit A / Exhibit B
  10. Exhibit A / Exhibit B

More: http://purportal.com/spam/

April 23rd, 2012

Now THAT is how you reply to a scammer

A friend recently received the following scam email (red box) and responded brilliantly (green box). Try it at home! The more energy scammers put into correspondence the less they have for actual scamming.

Greetings John S,

I would like to discuss a business proposal that has the potential for significant earnings.

I am currently employed with a privatly held manufacturing company. My company has demand for a specific material that is vital to its processing operations. We are currently purchasing this material at a price well over the manufacturing cost.

I would like to explore the possibility of having you stand-in as a new supplier, providing this material while retaining the same profit margins. My role would be to introduce you to my company, as the supplier, and to obtain a contract between you and my employer. I have already discussed sourcing possibilities with the existing manufacturer, leaving room for attractive profit margins. What is still required in order to materialize this venture is an individual who is at arm’s length to oversee these supply chain transactions. The required capital to purchase our initial order from the manufacturer will be funded strictly from myself and no additional investment will be required from yourself. With that said, we can discuss terms and comission structure in the near future.

I understand that your experience with The Pantyslut People does not directly relate to my field. However, this venture is more in line with your personal capabilities rather than your professional experience.

I would like to confirm your current phone number 4135865179. Please send a return email to verify your contact number and to schedule the most convenient time to discuss these possibilities in detail. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Kindest Regards, Roger Coleman



Dear Mr. Coleman,

Thank you for your fascinating and provocative proposal. I am only bewildered at your certainty that my experience with The Pantyslut People will not directly relate to your field of vital materials acquisition. You would no doubt have grave surprise at the variety of experiences required to be A Pantyslut Person. Therefore I offer my assurances that your assumptions are entirely forgivable.

Unfortunately the phone number you have for me is out of date. I no longer use telephonic communications because of concerns over surveillance, as I am sure you can understand. I rely entirely on email communications and personal meetings in darkened cafes. If these terms are acceptable to you, I look forward to discussing the terms of my stand-in position as new supplier of specific manufacturing materials for your employer. I understand that the company is privately held. You may rest convinced of my dedication to utmost discretion.

Warmly, John S

More: http://www.bonkworld.org/

March 6th, 2012

Clark Howard helps you outsmart the scammers

Thriftiness guru Clark Howard has a great archive of short pieces on how to outsmart the scammers who are gunning for you online. Titles include:

  • How to outsmart email "phishing" scams
  • Websites sharing your info is more common than previously thought
  • Beware of cold calls from bogus tech experts
  • Beware of free trials offers
  • Avoid The Movie Trailer Scam
  • Impostor scams are a fast-growing fraud

More: http://www.clarkhoward.com/categories/scams-ripoffs/email-phishing/

February 14th, 2012

Google's advice on avoiding phishing

Google's Chrome browser, like most browsers these days, has a filter that checks sites you visit against a list of known phishing sites. The warning page that Chrome presents also contains a link to a page of good advice on keeping safe from phishing attacks.

More: http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=106318

February 13th, 2012

What do they do when they steal your personal info?

If you've ever bought something from Zappos (like I have), you recently received an email notification from them alerting you to a "data breach," i.e. somebody got customer data from their databases that included names, email addresses, billing and shipping addresses, phone numbers, etc. Why do the bad guys want this info? CIO.com has the story.

More: http://www.cio.com/article/698820/Are_You_at_Risk_What_Cybercriminals_Do_With_Your_Personal_Data_

January 26th, 2012

The OpenDNS Phishing Quiz

If you're a Purportal regular you probably have a pretty good eye for scams -- or think you do! Try this quiz from OpenDNS that shows you screen shots of 14 sites that may look real at first... but it's up to you to say whether they are or not. Looking at the URLs is the way to tell for sure. If those were hidden I might not have done so well!

More: http://www.opendns.com/phishing-quiz/

January 4th, 2012

US Postal Inspection Service: Scheme Alerts

The USPS publishes a handy page of information about active scams relating to the Postal Service. Interesting that all the scams seem to use the internet as their delivery channel... I guess only real old-school scammers use plain paper mail.

More: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/pressroom/schemealerts.aspx

December 7th, 2011

Some hoaxes are just for fun

"On March 13, 2010 ... the world's largest Twitter hoax. The idea of the hoax was to trick people into thinking Conan O'Brien had joined Internet television company Revision 3. 525 tweets containing the hashtag '#omgconan' were sent in next three hours, making it a Trending Topic on Twitter."

More: http://recordsetter.com/world-record/tweeted-hoax

August 24th, 2011

Scam and repeat

When scammers find something that works, they'll use it over and over and over again. We see this in the Purportal collection. Not only do similar-to-identical messages often come in on the same day, sometimes they arrive months or even years apart. I analyzed the 8000+ messages in the Purportal collection for similarity, and found hundreds of separated-at-birth pairs like this one and, months later, this one.

More: http://purportal.com/spam/

August 23rd, 2011

Clickjacking, Likejacking

Sophos presents a detailed look at a Facebook-based scam in which, needless to say, all is not as it appears. Especially the stuff you click on.

More: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/05/27/baby-born-amazing-effect-no-another-facebook-likejacking-scam/

June 23rd, 2011