New Scam Has you “Certify” Through

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If you get an email asking you to “certify” with or, don’t fall for it! This is a site that is trying to collect your cell phone number. Ok, first, a disclaimer: we are 98% sure that this is a scam, but it is so new that we haven’t been able to fully prove it yet. But read on and you’ll understand why you too should be wary of it.

We encountered in the context of Craigslist – after responding to a Craigslist posting, here is what you get back:

What a surprise! I am totally amazed at how many people responded, nonetheless I received your email first, and first come, first served. Please, visit here: which will certify you with CL. After that, I will contact you and provide you with my number and cross streets, and you can come get it.



Now, just the language itself seems very odd. Kind of stilted and not really like someone from Hygiene, Colorado offering a free heater.

That’s things that make you go ‘hmmm’ number 1.

Now, look at the headers:

From: Latashia Benzing (
Subject: Re: Free Heater (Hygiene)
Date: November 22, 2011 2:28:49 AM MST
To: (redacted)

The email address alone is the second thing to make you wary. Generic, contains a number, and it’s a yahoo address.

The third thing is that the name of the sender is supposedly Latashia Benzing, but in the body of the text the sender signs off as “Kristen”.

But more to the point, this sender clearly already has the email address to which they are replying, and is revealing their email address in their response. So why are they asking you to “certify” yourself through

The plot thickens if you visit that website. First, it looks like it really could be legitimate! (Dastardly!)

Here is the site, in toto:

As you can see, the are collecting cell phone numbers. And even though the site says “You have been requested to be added to the ‘safe-list’ of the user that sent you here to get in communication with you,” there is no way for them to correlate your cell phone number with your email address, or “the person who sent you there”, or anything else that would identify you as being connected with the person who sent you the email. There are no special codes embedded in the link to connect one, in this case, with “Kristen” or “Latashia” or “”. So, why are they collecting your cell phone number? (Perhaps it is in anticipation of the legislation that will allow marketers to robocall your cell phone if you have provided them with the number for any reason?)

But here is something that is even fishier yet. Note that the email is dated 11/22/11. The domain “” was only created on 9/22/11. How likely is it that a legitimate service doing what they purport to do would go from non-existent to fully functioning and with users knowing about it and using it in only 8 weeks? Especially when there is no other information about it online? No ad campaign, not buzz on the net – nothing. Nada. Zilch.

The site claims to be a service of, which it may or may not be..but for a final nail in this coffin, check out what is posted at this site (note the URL… mobi (which stands for mobile) – selling. Mobile Selling!

So, for all of these reasons, we are advising you to stay far away from Spam to cell phones is one of the next major frontiers in spam.. as many of you can attest, it’s already ramping up. Giving up your cell phone number to a strange, unknown ‘service’ is akin to giving up your email address.

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9 thoughts on “New Scam Has you “Certify” Through

  1. omg…i JUST NOW fell for this scam and had trouble with the website, so i decided to look it up, and i found yall. i cant beleive it! im always telling my mom to watch out for scams like this. and the email was almost verbatim from yalls sample scam email…unbeleivable…they cant do anything besides spam with my cell number, can they?

  2. Saw an ad on craiglist in Boulder, CO for a free kitchen island and the email response that I got said to go to Other than the factors already mentioned on the clues that tipped me off, I would add that the response was sent at 12:17am and that the name on the email “Lynda” did not match the email name or email address. The text of the email was exactly the same, however. I am glad I searched for it and found this site before I proceeded. BEWARE!!!

  3. I just fell for the scam. I can’t believe I just did that. I’m always on my wife about falling for scams on C.L. I fell for the free BBQ on C.L. A week ago I replied to a free BBQ on C.L. and thought it was a reply to that. When she\ Barbara said I was the first to inquire about it. That confirmed for me that it must be legit because I was looking at the free section on C.L. and had refreshed the page and there it was. It had just been listed and I replied as fast as I could. For that reason I decided to go ahead with it even though the web address for spamcheck was from Sweden. I should have thought it threw more before responding. Looks like I’ll have to change my number and tell my wife I changed for some other reason than falling for a She’ll never let me live it down.

  4. Yup, I emailed a craigslist seller about a free gas bbq. 4 days later I got a message saying that there was a lot of response but I was the first. And so go to and verify my id and then they would send me contact info. Im an IT tech and so the “org” part made me suspisious. My virus protection advised against the site. I did a search on the internet and sure enough, looks like a new scam. I’ve seen similar claims all over the internet. Dont populate the web page with your own info. Use your ex wife or husbands info instead.

  5. OMG. I seriously can’t believe I just fell for that. I feel so dumb right now, I’m exhausted and it’s late so hopefully that’s why… So what the heck can we do afterwards? Are these people selling your number to telemarketers or is this something more malicious? I could really use the help right about now I really don’t feel like getting my number changed.

  6. This happened to me too. Posting was for a sewing machine. Same language, asking to verify CL, and that I was the first after they received “so many emails!” I was suspicious and I Googled it. Thanks for confirming my spammy suspicion.

  7. I got this as the funny thing is, as you try to enter your phone number via a smartphone, the input fields won’t handle it correctly. This was the final proof that it was a scam site for me.

  8. I received the same CraigsList request from “Kirsten” claiming to be giving away a free TV in Anoka, MN. SCAM!!!!

  9. This scam is to trap the obliviots amongst us who do everything off a “smart phone” that is smarter than they are…

    Since they do email off the smart phone, they think nothing of passing on the phone number.

    Once the numbers are harvested, they will be sold off to someone for a tidy profit.

    What a sad sad world.

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