Your most interesting scam?

I once received an e-mail from “Sarah Silverman,” a comedian I like but have never done anything to associate myself with (follow on Twitter, go to one of her shows, etc.) , telling me that she appreciates my support, thought I wrote some interesting stuff on social media, etc. Nothing much more than that, so I wrote her back and thanked her. Well, this started a series of innocent emails, really insubstantial commonplace remarks such as you’d engage a stranger with, until she invited me to be her guest at a nearby show. Around this point, I asked her why she was getting in touch with me, did she contact all her fans out of the blue like this, and got no response, just another “Can you come to my show–it’s on such and such a date at this club.”

LSS, I searched her and found out that she used her middle initial on her actual public email, and wrote to “Sarah Silverman” asking some pointed questions about her “other” email address, at which point the emails promptly stopped.

I’m not quite figuring out where this scam would have ended had I kept going. Where do you suppose? Have you ever heard of a scam like this, a minor celebrity reaching out to his or her fans?

“Sarah K. Silverman” btw never responded to my asking her if she knew of this “Sarah Silverman” contacting people.

Have you looked up the club to find out who, if anyone, was scheduled to perform there on that date?

My first guess would be that someone (possibly a disreputable promoter) who’s been able to glean from publicly available data that you’re a Silverman fan is trying to get you to come to their show, using her name as bait.

I don’t know for sure, but getting you on the hook is the key; then there are any number of ways they could have tried to leverage that. Maybe “Sarah” would eventually email you with a great investment opportunity that “she’s” giving you an exclusive opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Just send $____ and you’ll be a guaranteed millionaire in months!

As for me, I’ve gotten a lot of the “Nigerian Prince” emails over the years, but nothing too interesting, other than one email that wove current events into the narrative in what I thought was a bit more specialized and clever way than the usual Nigerian scam emails-- something to do with Yasser Arafat and unrest in the Middle East, but I don’t remember the specific details anymore.

It could have been something as simple as selling you fake tickets to a show at a “deep discount” supposedly because you are one of her favorite fans. Send this out to enough fans and it would definitely pay off for the scammer.

It’s hard for me to see the advantage in selling discount tickets. This person went through a lot of trouble to write these letters. I suppose he could have written thousands of them to thousands of local saps and gotten a few nibbles but there must be easier ways to make a few nickels, I’d think. As it was, the closest show to me was 50 miles away, during a pandemic, and there was no way I was going, much less paying money to do so. I probably wouldn’t have gone if it were free and only 20 miles away.

I got an interesting robo-call just the other day saying my PG&E bill was overdue and a collection agency had been notified. If I wanted to avoid having my service cut off I needed to provide them with payment immediately. I hung up at that point since I’ve been enrolled in auto-pay for years.

I had a scam call that started “This is Microsoft Technical Support …”, so I dived in with “Oh, I have to go to the bathroom - ring me back in 5 minutes!”
I also noted the number.

When they rang back I answered the phone with “Microsoft Technical Support - how can I help you?”
They paused, then replied “Err … this is Microsoft Technical Support.”
I continued “No, this is Microsoft Technical Support!”

After a couple more repetitions, they hung up. :grinning:

I was once approached by a Speaker Scam team. It was at a gas station filling my rental to return near LAX. They left real quick when I told them I knew the scam and I was leaving on a plane in an hour anyway.

I don’t know what their plan was but I’ve encountered some Dutch filmmakers on Facebook claiming to represent Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. I found the real Rock’s Facebook account and sent him a PM, asking if he was aware of those guys.

The post which prompted me to contact the Rock has since been taken down.

I used to get Microsoft calls often. Finally one day when my brother- and sister-in-law were over, I picked up the phone call. They said from Microsoft Windows, so I start in on them pretending they’d said Anderson windows or some such. I told them the windows they’d installed were leaking and drafty. I wasn’t going to pay, and they had to come out right now to fix them. Every time they tried to interrupt and explain they were Microsoft. I’d talk louder and say I don’t want any excuses. Come RIGHT NOW.

They finally hung up. It was a long time before the next Microsoft call.

The call we’re getting now all the time is that our car warranty is about to expire. Well the only car I have is a 2003 VW station wagon on which the warranty has long expired. I usually pretend to be interested, and ask them “Oh which one?” Some times they hang up. Sometimes they transfer me to a ‘supervisor’. I’ll try to string the supervisor along. They’ll say I’m looking up your records, which cars do you have. So I’ll tell them something and when they tell me what I can do, I say. “Oh I gave that one to my son who lives out of state.” The next car I suggest happened to have been totaled after I give them the information and I try to get them to promise they’ll fix it as good as new.

Not a scam exactly, but a disreputable service using photos of well-known people without permission. There used to be a dating website to set up Western men with Indonesian women - well, there are probably lots of those, especially if you expand “Indonesian” to “Asian.” Some are scammy, others are real.

This one was real enough - I knew the guy who was running it, and for a price he’d deliver what he promised, which was a lovely young Indonesian girl to marry who would be very subservient. UGH.

Anyway, the scam-ish part was that in his advertising he used photos of prominent, female, middle-aged British politicians who were pretty severe and unsexy looking. The captions would say something like “why would you marry THIS (photo of shrewish looking 50-year-old) when you could have THIS (picture of fetching young Indonesian woman)?”

It pissed me off so much that I actually faxed letters to the women in question (yes, this happened back in the days where fax machines were used a lot), alerting them to how their photos were being used. Since they were public figures, I doubt their permission was needed. But the whole thing was so irritating, I rather hoped that some British parliamentarian would kick his ass, bureaucratically speaking. It never happened though; I didn’t get so much as an acknowledgment from anyone I wrote to.

Missed edit window: I got to thinking about that scummy website. I was pretty sure it didn’t exist anymore as the guy that ran it was, like, 80 years old and this was a decade ago, more or less. But I found a screenshot of the homepage of his original website. Yeah, pretty offensive.

I let everything go to voicemail unless I’m expecting a call, so I occasionally SEE calls with caller IDs like “WA STATE PATROL” or “PAYPL” or “DEPT OF CORRECTIONS”, but I never answer them.

Honestly, my job at the grocery store finds me preventing scams more often than encountering them - every so often we get someone trying to buy several thousand dollars worth of Google Play or Apple gift cards (which the registers won’t let happen, as they block the sale of more than one card within a 10-minute window) and it winds up being my job to explain to the customer that no, your computer hasn’t been hacked, you haven’t won the lottery, you’re not about to be arrested for tax evasion, your grandson hasn’t been hospitalized in Malaysia, and that svelte blonde from Russia forty years younger than you who you’ve been talking to on the phone for six months isn’t flying out here to marry you.

To invert the topic, I get a lot of scam emails at work. I’m sure you guys are the same - you develop an ability to recognize and delete scam emails from subject lines almost without conscious thought.

A couple of years ago I received an email and hit delete on it as obvious spam before my brain could engage but then something caught my eye and I retrieved it. It was from a guy in (IIRC) Holland who collects corporate neckties and who is aiming to have the world’s largest collection. Actually I think he may already have had that.

It was a long time ago but his subject line was something like “A kind request for you” which I think you will agree just screams “spam”. I replied to him and told him he needed to change his subject line. He’d clearly never thought about it. He asked what he should change it to and I said something that includes the nature of the unusual request in the subject line so that it didn’t seem so generic. He later wrote to me and thanked me and said his success rate had gone up enormously since he’d adopted my suggestion.

He was an older retired fellow and I guess he’d just not worked or worked much in the email era.

I got 2 identical emails, except for the senders, within minutes saying I’d been automatically upgraded to Super Platinum Plus Excellent Something Or Other that I’d never been subscribed to, and that $349.99 would be charged to my credit card within 72 hours. It kindly gave a toll-free number to call if I had any questions.

Yeah. Right. Delete. I’m guessing if you call the number, they ask for your credit card info to stop the charge.

My credit union offers credit card monitoring and I have it set to text me for any in-person charge over $50 or any on-line charge at all. Interestingly, none of these scammy charges are ever attempted - what a surprise!!!

They probably thought it was some kind of scam.

My mother in law still has an actual Nigerian scam LETTER that she received in the 1970’s. The precursor to the Nigerian scam email.

Not really a scam just a really bad spammy targeted marketing, but a Facebook group for the 3D software Maya I’m a member of got a spam post recruiting for the Ghanaian army:

If anyone is getting scammed here its whoever in the Ghanaian dept of defense is paying for targeted marketing. As I don’t think most 3D artists I know (even if they are Ghanaian citizens) would get through bootcamp.

I thought maybe you wanted to hear about some I’ve done. Nevermind…

Ja, I get up to 5 of these a day on the account where that professional email address is visible online. I pull them out of spam once a week and make them as phishing.