A Collector’s Story Of Attempted Fraud

Via my website (PPC) I get weekly several request, offers, questions but this story I believe is worth to share.

“I have 136 German passports 1918-1942 in excellent condition for sale” was the initial headline. Well, sounds great isn’t it? Of course I was interested and replied in that way.

Scammer:
I am German national but living for 25 years in the Philippines and own a international company (website link attached which is a real original company website). My daughter is working for the Goethe Institute and these passports where offered to us. All are in excellent condition. I have no idea about the value and await your offer.

PPC:
Sounds good please send me some pictures or list then we can discuss further details…Where are the passports now?

Scammer:
I do not have pictures nor a list but I can confirm all passports are in excellent condition. All passports (PP) are well packed and I don’t won’t open the box again. The PP are here in Manila/Philippines (PPC: Where the headquarters of the real company is).

PPC:
Well, as everything is then a “surprise” and I do have some risk I would offer $15/item and would take the whole package.

Scammer: That is fine for me and I offer you to send just 50% now and after you get the goods you send the rest. I even offer just $1800 instead of $2040. Money must be sent to my bank account in Manila.

(Isn’t it remarkable! No negotiations? Just accept 1st offer? Even decreased the price and offer 50% advance?)

PPC: Sounds good with me but as German and international company you surely have also a German bank account where I can send the money or even on your daughter’s bank account.

Scammer:
No no, everything is in my books here in the Philippines and why you have concern to send the money to my bank in Manila?

PPC: Well the handling would be easier , faster and cheaper bank costs which is also in your interest I believe. But as I’m currently in Bangkok  I can come to Manila which is just a 3 hrs flight. By the way why did your daughter get the passports offered from the institute? Since when are the passports in your possession and why don’t you sell them online?

Scammer: Sorry I do not have time to spend too much on this issue as I’m very busy and I will fly to China the next days for few weeks. Our company is a big sponsor of the institute that’s why we got it. I own the passports since 6 month and I don’t think I can sell all passports at once online and I want sell the whole package.

Well in between I did some verifications.

The given name of the seller didn’t match with the company owner mentioned on the website (and he was stating he is the company owner). The email was a ymail (which is yahoo) and not one of the several company emails on the website. Tracing the senders email and IP was showing the email was sent from USA (Sunnyvale/California) and not from the Philippines. Called the company in Manila and try to talk to the real company owner with the result that he is currently in Switzerland (while the scammer said he is currently in the Philippines).

PPC: Nice try for attempted fraud I know you are not the one you say you are…
All emails including your IP address was send to FBI (Internet Fraud Department) and I’m sure they will knock on your door soon…

Scammer: no answer

Update 07-15-11
Scammer: We have your address and tomorrow we get your address in Thailand! Then we will have a joyful surprise for you lousy Swiss xxxxx! We provide you with a passport for a stay in the intensive care unit of a hospital! But that is only the beginning!

PPC: Dear Uwe, Werner, and George, or how else do you scammers name yourself … Thank you for a further proof email and another IP address. The FBI will be surely interested in. In addition, rocket and yahoo mail is informed and take actions accordingly. All other emails from you scammers, will be deleted automatically, so save your stupid threats.

Further investigations by me came to the result that Sunnyvale is a “hot spot” for the Nigerian Scammer Mafia outside of Africa. Lesson learned? Sure, never be too greedy (which I wasn’t) and always verify and remain cool (what I did and which is in my blood as Quality Manager 😉 ). On Internet nothing is like it seems.

This story happened back in 2011 and I just reposted to make you aware to be always curious & careful!