Turn the tables on the scammer
My first experience messing with an email scammer
We’ve all seen the Nigerian prince emails, the long lost relative that died and trusted his money to a nigerian bank, and various other email scams. The sad thing is that sometimes they work. Sometimes gullibility and greed trump common sense. Sometimes people will pay the scammer…not today.
I had some time to kill and realized that this could actually be a fun way to slow them down. I’m not naive enough to think that I could dissuade them from doing this completely, but if I can stall them or slow them down just a bit, it is less time that they can spend prying money out of people. This experience brought me a lot of laughs, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep pace with this and just see what I can get away with. Below is the copied and pasted correspondence with Farrouk, the scammer. The Scammer’s responses are in Bold.
I am Mr. Farouk Hassan from Syria. I am in London at the moment as a refugee because of the recent problems in my country. I have a large sum of money deposited in an offshore security company and i need your urgent help to quickly move this amount of money from the security company to another place of your choice in your name for investment in your country to avoid any question concerning the source. This money is the only thing left for me now and i want to start a new life with it. This transaction requires urgent attention because of the current political situation in my country (Syria) and I do not want to lose this money to rebels or government.
What we are talking about is a huge sum of money and I am ready to offer you 30% of the money to stand as the beneficiary of transfer to a new bank account of your choice. I believe you can help me, but on the contrary if you cannot help, please forgive my indulgence and delete this e-mail content without sharing with anyone.
If you are intrested and will be able to to handle this for me in all honesty without any betrayal of trust then contact me for more details and information. Please note that this transaction is confidential and should be kept as top secret until we have completed the transfer to your bank account.
Thanks and Best regards,
Mr. Farouk Hassan
Wow that’s alot of money! How can I help?
YES IT’S ,JUST SEND ME ALL YOUR DETAILS THEN I WILL WRITE THE SECURITY VOGUE AND INSTRUCT THEM TO ARRANGE THE TRANSFER TO YOUR NOMINATED ACCOUNT.
REGARDS FROM FAROUK
What details do you need? How do I know that you’re a real person and not some computer program trying to collect money? I will send the details you need but I have to know that you are real, I’m not gullible.
MY DEAR FRIEND AM JUST SEEKING FOR HELP FROM YOU,THE MONEY IS REAL WHICH AM GOING TO SEND YOU THE DEPOSITED CERTIFICATE BY TOMORROW.THE FUND IS NOW IN UAE WITH SECURITY VOGUE COMPANY, I NEED TO KNOW YOUR DETAILS AND WHICH COUNTRY YOU ARE.
I’m in the United States, I run an art gallery in Philadelphia. What information do you need? Sorry for the distrust, I don’t like computers, difficult to learn them at my age
I NEED YOUR DETAILS SUCH AS ID PASSPORT TO KNOW WHO IM DEALING WITH,ALSO YOUR FULL NAM AND ADDRESS,I WILL FORWARD IT TO THE SECURITY COMPANY IN DUBAI TO ARRANGE THE TRANSFER TO YOUR NOMINATED ACCOUNT.THEN AFTER THE TRANSFER I WILL VISIT YOUR COUNTRY UNITED STATE .
THANKS AND REGARDS
Can you prove to me that you are real?
YES OF CURSE MR MARK I WILL ALSO SEND YOU ALL MY DETAILS SUCH AS THE DEPOSITED CERTIFICATE AND MY PASSPORT.
As I sign of good faith the first digits of my account number are 8675309. Once you can prove you are a real person I will send the rest. As you know, I run at art gallery In the US, so I know hand drawn art. Can you draw me a picture of freddy krueger and sign it “to mark” so I know you are a real person?
That’s good! Are you sure you didn’t download that from the internet? Can you do Jason voorhees?
HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT MY FRIEND?AM DOING THIS FOR OUR MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING MARK,PLEASE IF YOUR NOT SEROUS I CAN LOOK FOR ANOTHER PERSON FOR HELP.
I believe you. I want to make a proposal to you, as you be kindly extended a proposal to me. Our art gallery is looking for an artist, our standard gallery commission is 150,000 in USD. But I need samples to see if you fit what we are looking for, and so far it looks perfect. Kindly provide samples of Jason Voorhees and one of Rocky & Bullwinkle. We may be able to help each other out in multiple ways
Amazing! Did you see my request for rocky & bullwinkle? That is Beautiful artwork my friend, if I ship art supplies could you paint?
THANK YOU FOR THE COMPLIMENT MY FRIEND,YES I KNOW WE HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON AS I COME ACROSS YOUR EMAIL, ART HAVE BEEN MY DREAMED, THOU I CHANGED TO READ POLITICAL SCIENCE!!!!
Amazing artwork, we would definitely love to see some paintings. Do you draw portraits? Here is a photo of my Uncle the Reverend, a very religious man. Would you be able to draw his portrait?
I CAN DRAW THE PORTRAIT OF YOUR UNCLE. BUT THAT WILL TAKE SOME TIME.
No problem, I understand good artwork takes time. I understand that you are working very hard on this artwork. I am looking forward to seeing the latest. I was speaking to my business partner and art broker and he loves the work. He wants to speak to you about sending a check and art supplies to you, he does however want to see another example, could you please also do a portrait of this gentelman, once you complete the 2 portraits my partner will be in touch with you. This is the portrait that he requires as well as the reverend
HELLO MY FRIEND HERE IS THE ATTACH DOCUMENTS AS PROMISE,REGARDING YOUR PORTRAIT JOB MY FRIEND,I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND MY SITUATION AT HAND? GOD BLESS
Thank you for that, sadly I do not see the pictures. Are you trying to scam me or something?
HELLO WHAT I HAVE ATTACHED FOR YOU IN MY PREVIOUS MAIL IS THE DEPOSIT CERTIFICATE OF MY MONEY WITH THE SECURITY COMPANY IN UAE. YOU CAN FIND ATTACHED AGAIN TO SEE THE DEPOSIT CERTIFICATE. AS FOR THE PORTRAIT,
I CAN SEND YOU SAMPLES OF MY PAST PORTRAIT DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS. IF OK FOR YOU, THEN WE DRAFT A BUSINESS CONTRACT FOR THE TWO PICTURES YOU GAVE ME BEFORE I START DRAWING. IN MY NEXT MAIL I WILL SEND YOU ALL THE SAMPLES OF PORTRAIT WHICH I HAVE.
My friend those are not the portraits we need for the gallery. If you can sketch a quick sample of them I am prepared to front 500 USD each. For a total of 1000 USD. If my art broker approves he is willing to pay for al expenses to bring you to the gallery to show your work.
AS REGARDS THE ART WORK, I ALSO HAVE A TEAM THAT CAN ARRANGE ART PROJECTS FOR YOUR COMPANY. YOU SEND US MATERIALS OR PICTURES, WE DRAW, PAINT AND SHIP DIRECT TO YOUR COMPANY. AS REGARDS THE 2 PICTURES YOU GAVE ME. I WILL WORK ON IT AND SEND TO YOU. BUT YOUR PAYMENT HAS TO BE BANK TRANSFER NOT CHEQUE
Not a problem, we can do a bank transfer. I need to see a sample of the portraits first. Not gallery quality but an example would be sufficient, before there can be a bank transfer. We would rather have your artwork only my friend, not your team, your skills have caught my eye and when I receive the samples I will show them and get you in touch with my art broker for payment.
OK I WILL LET YOU KNOW WHEN AM DONE WITH THE 2 PICTURES.
Work is progress.. Am still trying to add the background of this one and finish up the remaining picture for your friend.
More work in progress. By tomorrow or Next I will be done. Am still trying to add the background of each of them. Just showing you work so far.
That is great progress my friend, I will be sure to forward to my art broker when it’s complete
Work in progress. I will try to finish all with background this night.
Hello, work is done my friend. Kindly confirm to receive he artwork
Hello, this is the third email I have sent to you. The work is finished and I have sent to you as requested. Confirm to receive so we can talk about payment.
It must be approved for production before payment can be received, we requested these samples to see if we could move forward.
At this point our art broker/acquisition manager stepped in
Dear Mr. Hassan,
Many thanks for reaching out to us and providing us with phenomenal artwork. My name is Jack Mehoff and I am a certified art broker T&A with over 25 years of experience in identifying talented artists and showcasing their work to the wealthy and famous. It is nice to meet you virtually 🙂
Many of the individuals I work with come from humble backgrounds like yourself, with many originating from war ravaged countries such as your own, including Congo, Nigeria and Canada (to name a few).
Since my colleague provided me with your work, I have come to the conclusion that you are one of the most talented individuals I have come across in my over 25 years of identifying artistic talent and securing financial freedom for artists such as yourself. Not only were you able to flawlessly portray photo realistic free form ON DEMAND, but your iconic depictions of Rocky and Bullwinkle, as well as horror icons Freddy Kreuger and Jason Voorheis are nothing short of remarkable and awe inspiring. I could not be more impressed.
The art gallery that I broker is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is highly coveted venue frequented by the social elite, who pay vast sums of money to gain entry and view art across a wide variety of mediums and tastes as well. These visits often result in large cash purchases for many pieces of art. For reference, I recently helped broker a $250,000 sale of an original piece entitled “Dildor the Unfortunate” to a very prominent film actor, who I unfortunately cannot name directly due to confidentiality requirements. However, this was a portrait of an original character creation by an artist much like yourself, a free hand expressionist drawing whose creator used this money to move to the US and start a new life submitting new pieces to the gallery.
The talent you have displayed thus far gives me no doubt that your work can be similarly displayed and purchased by celebrities and collectors that visit us regularly and appreciate hard work and dedication to art.
However, please note that because our art gallery is a highly prized private institution, our acceptance criteria and standards are exceptionally high. As such, I will need you to provide us with an additional two pieces of work so we can ensure your acceptance as a new artist by our board of directors.
Kindly submit the following to us at your earliest convenience:
1) An expressive rhombus. Please create an original character whose body is a rhombus and who utilizes some sort of catch phrase (which can be of your choosing). This will allow us to showcase to our board of directors your ability to respond on demand to the current trends and tastes of our customer base.
2) Your own interpretation of “Dildor The Unfortunate”. I have not yet provided you with an example of this character or what they represent, so please use your imagination and portray Dildor in their natural habitat as you imagine them. Please note that we often reference other art pieces verbally to prospective candidates and ask them to showcase their interpretation of the piece prior to revealing it to them. This by extension encourages the artist to use their imagination and often reveals additional talents and abilities by the candidate as well, some of which they may not be aware of prior to their assignment. This can often result in higher prices for submitted work in the future by our customers.
Once we have received these two pieces from you, I will briefly review them alongside my colleague so we can proceed to the next step in the process and begin preparing a dedicated display for you at the gallery. We will also secure transport to the US on one of our private jets, where we also guarantee the presence of a well-known celebrity and, if interested, a prostitute, to keep you company on your journey overseas. Please note that while we can guarantee the presence of a celebrity to accompany you on your trip, due to conflicting schedules we cannot commit to a specific individual at this time. To compensate for this, please provide us with a list of 5 to 10 requested film or music celebrities and we will reach out to them to begin discussions to try and meet your request.
Mr. Hassan, we are very excited to have met you and are looking forward to the next steps in the process.
Thank you again very much for your interest in our gallery Hassan and we look forward to hearing from you soon.
All the best,
Certified T&A Broker
As of right now I am still waiting for a response from the scammer with the portraits we requested, once (IF) I get them, I’ll be bringing in my Art broker, Mr. Danger to have some fun. Stay tuned for updates…
Feel free to contact us with your own experiences!