Yesterday, a friend from Brazil sent me a message: “Hey man, I’ve just added my photo camera to sell on olx.com.br for a really high price and someone just contacted me wanting to buy it! The interesting thing is that the buyer it is not even from Brazil, internet is really amazing”
He was happy but I wasn’t so sure about this. Life has many important rules, and one of the most important is: “Nothing is too easy, if it seems too easy, open your eyes wider.”
I decided to go further into this supposedly perfect and super-fast selling transaction. So my friend and I wrote some emails to the buyer asking for more information, and trust me, we got some really convincing and emotional replies.
Four emails were exchanged, some of them in portuguese (using poor translation from the internet), where the buyer was providing information about the address, phone numbers, and interestingly, he also tried to use an emotional tactic to convince the seller. For example, he asked the seller to write a card with the camera saying: “No matter how many birthdays come and go, you’ll always be my little girl. I’m so proud to have you as a daughter. I see a little more of me in you with each passing year. Happy birthday to a wonderful daughter and a great friend.”
It was all very convincing, however, they lost it in the fifth email. Here’s a copy of it:
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Nantucket Bank Plc© <email@example.com> Date: 2013/9/25 Subject: ***TRANSFER*** To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com> Attention: My Friend, Nantucket Bank Electronic Notification Service (NBENS) This is to notify you that the management of the Bank has approved to release the sum of $ 2.780,00 USD paid into your account by our customer Mrs. Chloe Nelson for the item purchase from your outlet. *FINANCIAL DETAILS* -------------------------------- AUCTION AMOUNT : $ 2.780,00 NUMBER OF ITEM : 1 AUCTION SITE : Olx.com.br -------------------------------- TOTAL : $ 2.780,00 -------------------------------- *** PLEASE NOTE *** The funds will be transferred to your Bank information below, please verify that the information (As entered by the buyer) are correct; NAME : My Friend ACCOUNT : My Friend Account SORT CODE : My Friend Sort Cod SWIFT CODE : BSCHBRSP OPERATION : 033 BANK : Banco Santander S.A COUNTRY : Brazil E-MAILS : firstname.lastname@example.org ***ATTENTION*** The Payment has been approved, due to complaints from our customers of seller refusing to ship out item after payment has been received, we have resolved that payment would not be delivered until we have verified that the item has been transferred to Brazil-urgent post courier service for shipment. The buyers account has been debited of the money but you can not access or withdraw it in your account at the moment, we advise that you go have the item shipped by POST BRAZIL and mail us the tracking number for verification within 48 hours. So we await track and trace number or receipt of shipment. Thank You. Experience Security with us. NANTUCKET BANK PLC.
See anything strange? Most people don’t. First problem is that it says that payment was approved, but they will only release the money once the product has been sent. But who guarantees that the money will be sent afterwards? The bank, correct? So I did some research on “Nantucket Bank PLC”, also searching for keywords like “scam” or “email@example.com” and guess what?! I found many people complaining that they have sent their products and never received the money. Sadly, this is not even new, some of these complaints are from more than two years ago.
How to avoid being caught in this kind of situations:
- Remember: “Nothing is too easy, if it seems too easy, open your eyes wider”
- Search on the internet parts of the email such as “firstname.lastname@example.org scam” or “name of the bank scam” to see what comes up.
It seems silly, but there are a lot of people falling for this kind of scam.