Scammers Using Confirmation Emails to Get to Targets

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Here is a twist on the usual 419 advance-fee scams: the scammer signs up for something such as a newsletter, and then replies to the confirmation email with their scam. We know this, because we were hit with just such a scam from “Steve McCoy”, using the email address stevecoy61@gmail.com. Here’s that email, so that you can see what it looks like:

From: Steve McCoy
Subject: Re: Please confirm your request for the Internet Patrol Weekly Digests
Date: April 8, 2016 at 7:09:38 AM MDT
To: The Internet Patrol

Hello


 

Thanks you for the response according to the description,am okay with the price and the condition pasted on cl. I am ready to make instant purchase.My mode of payment would be in CERTIFIED CHECK and i will arrange for a local pick up as soon as you get the check, because that is the only inconvenient means for me and due to my work frame i can not be able to get there and i promise everything will go smoothly.I really wish to be there to check out the item but i don’t have chance cause am very busy person (US MARINE). Concerning the pick up, i will arrange for it after you receive the payment and it clears… Pls get back to me with below info so that i can proceed with the payment immediately if you are selling to me.

Full Name to on the payment:
Address: Not P.O.BOX
City:
State ::
Zip Code:
Phone Number: That i can send text
Items Name

And as soon as this is provided, the payment will be overnight to you and i will let you know when its mailed out. Thanks and i hope we handle this in good faith while waiting to hear from you. i will add an additional $50 so that you can hold it for me till the check reach you.

Best Regard

 

This is pretty standard 419 stuff (so-named after the section of the Nigerian penal code that criminalizes such fraud), which is also known as advance fee fraud.

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Scammers Using Confirmation Emails to Get to Targets

steve mccoy stevecoy gmail confirmation email scam scammer

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But why would a scammer turn to signing up for something in order to send their scam, instead of just sending it directly?

To thwart spam filters.

You see this line in the header of the email?

Subject: Re: Please confirm your request for the Internet Patrol Weekly Digests

The scammer is banking on several potential benefits by doing this, including:

  • that by replying to email sent by our server our server will ‘recognize’ thee email, and so it will have a better chance of making it through
  • that by it being an actual reply, with “Re:” in the subject, it has a better chance of making it through (this is why you often get spam with “Re:” in the subject even though you never sent the spammer any email to which to reply
  • that because there will be a greater percentage of text and other indicators that our server will recognize as ‘legitimate’ it will have a better chance of getting through
  • that because it is an email that the recipients likely see and have to act on regularly, it will have a better chance of being opened and read

Of course, we recognized this immediately, but these scams work frequently enough that they are still one of the scam methods of choice among scammers.

Did you receive an email like this, either ‘from’ Steve McCoy, or someone else? If so, and especially if it’s at all different from the one above, please share it in a comment!

  
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Scammers Using Confirmation Emails to Get to Targets

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4 Replies to “Scammers Using Confirmation Emails to Get to Targets”

  1. Thanks so much I know I’m not a crazy old bat now I am so sick of impersonaters I feel vindicated now thank you

  2. Not a reply, but my son just got hit with one of these while trying to sell something on an auction site.

    The bank that the forged check was written against didn’t seem too interested. Their “fraud” department was looking into it.

  3. The statements they make, have very little to do with signing up for a newsletter….
    Are the scammers desperate?

  4. It’s like they knew we were going to feature them – we just got this one now!

    From: Lila
    Subject: Re: Please confirm your request for the Internet Patrol Weekly Digests
    Date: May 12, 2016 at 2:24:00 PM MDT
    To: The Internet Patrol
    Reply-To: Lila

    Thanks for getting back to me. Email is much better since my boyfriend doesnt have my password to access it lol. Anyways I can host at my house, I can drive also ;) Im all alone at my house until the end of next week, let me know what youd prefer.

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