Scam (Internet and Otherwise) Omnibus Thread

Continuing the discussion from "Is this a scam?" chapter seventy-billion, need answer fastish:

This thread, one of many recently, got me thinking that it might be worthwhile to have an omnibus thread where everyone can share and SEARCH scams that have already been identified. This isn’t so much for complaining about scammers although it’ll probably be inevitable to a degree, but to see if other posters have had a similar experience before anyone makes a mistake. I’m linking several scam threads I’ve bumped into, and encourage others to do so as well.

(I’m keeping the list reasonable short, as there are a ton of threads out there sadly. And when possible, I’m selecting a post that may have a useful off-board summary or explanation)

Just also wanted to give a shout out to @running_coach who offered good advice and analysis in many of the above threads.

Again, this is a place to look for advice on something you think might be a scam and a resource for sharing rather than digging through dozens of individual threads. May you never need to use it.

Thanks but @Mangetout is our resident expert. For those who don’t know, he has a Youtube channel at Atomic Shrimp where he not only scambaits but goes foraging, cooks interesting things, crafts other interesting things and tries Weird Stuff In A Can.

“Norton” scammers are getting clever.

I just saw one with a reply-to address that resolves to a domain in Portugal.

Just linking to another recent scam thread to add to our (sadly) ever-growing database.

I’m waiting for scammers to run out of patience with elaborate scenarios and just send an email like this:

Hello, I’m Ib Ibeh, and I’m a scammer from Makoko, Nigeria.

Can I have $500?

Blessings upon you,

Now, if you ignore that one, it gets resent with a further explanation:

You see, if everyone on my list gives me $500, I’ll never have to scam anyone ever again. Think of the heartbreak you’ll be saving some innocent grandparents.

Oh, this thread reminded of something I wanted to ask a while back and forgot about.

Back in in late March I got an email from Parkmobile (an app that lets you pay for parking on your phone rather than having to feed a meter). I have used their app before and have an account with them, so that’s not a red flag in and of itself. But the contents are:

Thanks in advance for choosing ParkMobile - the only parking app that pays you back. To show our appreciation, enjoy this $30 Nift gift card on us. It’s valid nationwide toward purchases of food delivery, clothing, and more.

And then there’s a link to “claim your gift”.

Why would they be sending me a $30 gift card for free? I don’t think I’ve even spent that much in their app.

Googling turns up threads elsewhere that suggest that it’s legit, and that the only downside is that businesses that accept this Nift gift card are few and far between. Apparently it’s purpose is to encourage people to patronize small, local businesses.

So it could be legit, but I also know for a fact that Parkmobile was the victim of a data breach. So this could also a hacker spear phishing using their stolen customer data. So I am being extra cautious.

Could you just call them up and find out?

I receive scam calls on a regular basis, despite being on no-call lists. I never fall for them, but the constant ringing and having to answer (in case it’s a legitimate caller), is very annoying and time consuming. Scammers use local spoof numbers making it hard to distinguish legitimate from scam calls.

I’m recently looking for a used car from a private seller and quickly learned that ~1/2 of the ads are scams. When I email them for more information, this is what they email back to me:

My name is Elba, and I’m emailing you about the … [car model] … runs very well and the automatic transmission shifts perfectly. Has a clean and clear US title in my name and there are no liens or loans on it. This car was used by my husband who died 4 month ago. The price was reduced by $1000 because I’m in a hurry to find a buyer.

Right now I`m in a military base. I will be leaving on military duty with my medical team out of the country for a year and do not want to store it. The car is located in the Military Logistic Department, at the military base and is ready to be shipped anywhere in the US.

The deal includes free delivery as you may know. We can ship a truck/car/boat/etc from home to the base and back one time in a year for free.

The transaction will be made via eBay, using their Purchase Protection Program. My presence won’t be necessary because I prearranged the deal with the eBay Money Back Guarantee program. You will have 5 days to test and inspect it. I like to use their services because I’ve been a member of eBay since 2010 with 100% positive feedback.

God Bless You,


I knew this was a scam, and sure enough, when I Googled the text, the script came back as a common used car scam. I received 3 other emails with almost the exact same script for other cars I inquired about (i.e. dead husband, military, need to sell fast, buy through Ebay…). I wrote back funny emails to them, including a request to Venmo me $100 in a show of good faith, and then I would transfer the $$$ to them. Of course I didn’t hear back.

I am a big fan of scambaiters (“scambaiter” – a type of vigilante who disrupts, exposes or even scams the world’s scammers.”). They waste a lot of scammers time (time that they could be using to scam your grandmother, etc.) and in some cases, get their operations shut down.

By far, the best scambaiter that I follow is Kitboga. This guy is quick-witted, tech-savvy and funny as hell (especially his Granny persona!). He has dozens of scambait videos on his channel and they are all gold:

I don’t HAVE to answer any call.

And my blood pressure is way down, ever since I decided that missing that one call that’s both crucial and from an unknown number is okay, they’ll leave a message and I can call back. Right back if I need to.

But when I am expecting calls, I’ll check when my phone vibrates (NEVER a ringtone in public, you jerks!), to see if it’s the doctor/plumber/bookie I’m expecting, and 99.9% of the time I can let it go to voicemail… and only one or two callers a day bother with leaving a message (and when they do, it’s mostly Chinese women berating me about my student loans).

Most days I keep my ringer off and only occasionally check to see if my elderly mom called (last time that just meant she needed to gossip).

I’m thinking of setting my iPhone to “Only ring/vibrate if it’s a caller that’s in my contacts list.”

I’m not looking to buy a car & I agree with you that there area all sorts of alarm bells going off on this (supposed) car but let’s say I did go for it; wouldn’t I get my money back from eBay, or are they actually going to deliver something not as advertised (salvage title, shot tranny, etc?) that makes it hard for you to dispute?

This is one of a number of articles that discusses the scam:

If I thought any of these “Ebay protection/military deployment/dead spouse” ads may have been legitimate, I would first ask for the Vin #, to see if it matches, then run a free online Vin # check, etc. But knowing they were scams, I didn’t waste my time.

Scammers suck and their numbers are growing. Some people must fall for them, though, or they wouldn’t be so prevalent. Caveat emptor, and all that…

I made a rule for myself a long time ago that if the caller ID shows only a phone number or location, it was most likely a scammer or a cold call salesperson, and in either case, I wasn’t interested. My phone goes to voicemail after a couple of rings and since I never have gotten around to setting that up, I don’t even know if the callers did leave voice mail.

Sometimes, for fun, I’ll put one on speakerphone and just continue with my work or listening to music. They usually hang up after about 15 seconds.

My latest trick is to answer unknown numbers with a brusque “Detective Silenus.” This usually gets an unsettled pause and a quick hang-up.

Thank you to whichever one of you suggested this!

Oo, I like that. Do you think they’d believe me if I answered as, “Inspector Gadget”?

I’ve used Masier Rackham before with success.
Currently, I use Peter Mosse.

I also got the tax fraud scam call. A guy with a very thick South Asian accent named Steve Martin said a special agent from the FBI was on his way to my house to arrest me for tax fraud unless I immediately wired $5k to the US Treasury Dept. When I asked him where the US Treasury Department was located, he said NYC, so I knew he was legit. :grinning:

I “confessed” to the crime and said I was going to commit suicide because I was claustrophobic and couldn’t bear the thought of being locked up the federal pen. Then I hit the gunshot sound effect key on my amped keyboard and let the phone go dead. I’m sure Steve just went on to call the next “criminal” without a care in the world, but at least I had a laugh.

Steve’s dead.
Instantaneous. Heart attack due to a gunshot. Probably a fake one over the phone, but just as deadly. [/Sgt.FridayVoice]


That is great. If you get tired of it, you could add things like “Detective Silenus, Fraud Division." or “International Inquisitions”.


I don’t know why, but I’ve been victim to identity theft 3 times over the past 8 years. I now check my bank transactions daily.

I’m quite cautious with my one and only debit card. I only use it at places I know and trust. I believe it must have been gas pump skimmers responsible for my card # thefts. Thankfully, my bank is good about reversing fraudulent charges and launching investigations.

The worst one occurred a few years ago, and really pissed me off. I got a bill from a 3rd party medical billing company for over $10k! It was for a boob job by a plastic/cosmetic surgeon in south Florida.

I contacted the FTC fraud department immediately on that one. I told them, “the only people living at my house are my two pre-teen daughters and myself—a 235lb dude. I assure you, none of us had breast enlargement surgery.”

I must say, the FTC did a fine job. They kept me abreast ( :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: ) of the investigation and eventually caught and arrested the perpetrator (s). I asked, but they wouldn’t tell me anything about who it was. So, if you’re ever in South Florida and come across a suspicious looking gal (or possibly a dude?) with really big boobs—stay clear!

If you’ve never heard the “Roy D Mercer” telemarketer prank call here it is.

A telemarketer calls and Roy tells him he’s called a crime scene and runs him through the wringer.

I had the weirdest scam attempt happen to me a few weeks ago.

Was walking to my car from Wal-Mart, a woman in her car pulled up, open window, and told me in an upbeat voice “Hey I need food for my kids can you spare any change?” I said no and she drove away to the next person walking the parking lot. The weird thing was, the way she was dressed. She was wearing a VERY loose fitting spaghetti strap top so her (considerable) breasts were on full display, and the way she leaned over made it seem like she deliberately wanted me to see her breasts as much as possible.

I’ve been thinking if maybe the woman was a sex worker trying to pick up a john and “Need food for my kids” was a code word? Simply because, the way she quickly went onto the next person it seemed like she was searching for a specific person, and her tone of voice didn’t seem that desperate.