Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Email Scam

Selling items on eBay and Craig's List generates a lot of email for me every day. While most of the emails are legitimate questions or offers for items I'm selling I also get emails that are scams and sales pitches. This morning I received a new email scam that is pretty clever. On Craig's list the first email I receive about an item generally asks whether the item is still available. If it is, I reply with a simple "yes" answer. After my reply this is what was in the next email response I got this morning:

"Thank you for getting back with me terry

I'm very interested in this but before I buy it I need to know if its
the same one I'm looking for because I can't afford another mistake
Please check out this video here I uploaded


If its the same one I will be there today to buy it

Many thanks"

I was suspicious about this email right from the get go. It was from a woman inquiring about a clay pigeon thrower for trap shooting. Well maybe she was shopping for a gift for her husband, right? If you click on the link she provided you are redirected to a media player. This is the catch! The media player prompts you to download the latest version so you can watch the video. Of course whatever you download probably includes spy ware of something worse you don't want on your hard drive. What makes this scam so clever is that we are all used to updating the media players we use all the time. Another clever ploy is the way my name is used in the email. Scams are usually more generic than this one. The clincher is her almost irresistible statement "I will be there today to buy it". This is just too good to be true. No one on Craig's List is ever anxious to buy anything without haggling a bit first.

The internet is a lot like the wild, wild west. Lots of freedom and opportunity but be aware of the outlaws and predators.

P.S. I scrambled the characters in the link above so it no longer works.

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