Pls snd $$ to get $$$$$, tnx

The pitter-pat of bogus PayPal money requests, from lazy thieves seeking obliging victims, continues.

I like this one.

PayPal advance-fee scam

Yep, this dude's running an advance-fee scam. If I send him $US200, he'll allow me to "collect [my] money". Except, of course, there is no actual money. There never is.

What I particularly like about this version of the scam is its pared-down, minimalist nature. "Matt Arcay" never sent me an e-mail, or anything. Just this money request. I have received not the slightest hint of the amount or source of the promised "your money" - just this ridiculous "if you want to collect your money simply agree to this and send the money, so you can receive your money".

(I don't know where scammers learn that odd repetitive grammar that repeats because it is repetitive grammar and redundant and says the same thing over and over. I've received similar messages from different putative locations, like this guy allegedly from Puerto, I'm sorry, I mean PUERTO RICO.)

Perhaps Mr "Arcay" did e-mail me separately, of course, but that message was spam-filtered, so all I received was the accompanying money-request e-mail from PayPal.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the only way "Arcay" contacts prospective marks, though. If they reply asking what the deal is then he knows he's got a live one.

What he really hopes for, though, is a mark who just sends him the $200 immediately. That's probably because they reckon "Arcay" meant to send a ton of money to some other person but has accidentally picked the mark instead. So the mark wants to cash in before "Arcay" discovers his mistake.

In that case, "Arcay" has basically won the lottery. A cow like that probably has a lot more milk to give.

I don't know whether it's possible for a scammer in one of the classic famous-only-for-scams countries, like Nigeria or some other TPLAC, to open a PayPal account. This scammer could actually be in the USA - or "Arcay" could be a money-mule front man for a scammer in some other nation.

(There may be some way to report this blatant fraud to PayPal. I'm not eager to waste another morning trying to figure out how, though.)

Even if it's tricky for people in developing nations to run a scam like this, there's a huge incentive to do so. In urban Nigeria, many people don't even make 60,000 naira per annum, which as I write this is only about $US400. A Nigerian who makes $US1200 a year is doing pretty well, so it's hardly surprising that there's so much enthusiasm about chopping that much and more out of some dumb Westerner's giant wallet.

(The BBC's recent three-part documentary "Welcome to Lagos" is, by the way, excellent.)

10 Responses to “Pls snd $$ to get $$$$$, tnx”

  1. dr_w00t Says:

    You haven't had a beg for a while Dan. Mind you the content has been a little light on the ground too lately...

    That makes me think... Jack the Ripper was supposedly a physician, or at least someone who had in depth knowledge of human anatomy. Who knows more about scams than you Dan... no-one would ever suspect. Except those of us with Holmes like herculean deductive powers.

  2. TwoHedWlf Says:

    I kind of got caught by an email for "PAYPAI" advising that my payment for a Dell laptop battery had been sent.

    Caught enough that I logged into paypal directly to double check instead of using their link labeled "Click to cancel payment". :)

  3. DShpak Says:

    I wonder if the fact that he doesn't make any specific promises could actually push this into the "not technically illegal" category. If you send him $200, and he sends you $1.75 in return, have any laws been broken?

  4. Red October Says:

    The above reminds me of the story of a man who robbed a cashier by asking for change of a $20; when the drawer was opened he drew a piston and demanded all the money in the till, which happened to be only $11 for some reason (big return or something), and he stupidly left the $20, raising the question of if you hold someone at gunpoint and give them money, have you committed a crime?

    More seriously than that, though, Dan has posted in the past about random Paypal money requests, this is probably just that dressed up a bit to fool different people. It's true that since he is not making a demand, or promising anything, that he isn't breaching any law I know of. I am, of course, not a lawyer, and there could be some sort of law in some jurisdictions regarding unsolicited requests for money from persons with whom you have no prior contact (to stop other stupidly simple scams like sending the same fake invoice for a decent yet easily written off sum ($50 or so) to as many people as you please, and, while most will discard it, a few idiots will of course pay it offhand.).

  5. Red October Says:

    Er, Fuck me, pistol not piston. Stupid typos.

  6. Daniel Rutter Says:

    The classic example of the sort of semi-legit pseudo-scam DShpak mentions above is the ad in the paper that says "This is YOUR LAST CHANCE to send $5 to Post Office Box 3142...", etc. Which is honest, because next week the ad will say "This is YOUR LAST CHANCE to send $5 to Post Office Box 2718...", etc.

    It's possible that such a scheme would actually be legit, but it's probable that it would not, because people sending money would have the implicit assumption that they were going to get something in return, even if it was as unlikely to be valuable as a lottery ticket. This is also where the "send me $200 and I will send you your money" (that being $1.75...) scheme falls down, because there is no way anybody would voluntarily enter into such a deal if they knew what it was. Such vastly unbalanced contractual arrangements are generally illegitimate, and victims are likely to be successful if they seek legal redress. (The legal fees may be unworkably high, of course.)

    The most important concept here is "good faith". This applies to all sorts of cunning schemes and legal loopholes; if you knowingly exploit a loophole of some sort to create a deal that clearly rips off the other participant, or to evade the spirit of a law while obeying its letter, all you've got to protect yourself is your victim's belief that your scheme is legit. If they ask an actual lawyer about it, this belief will be short-lived.

    (There are plenty of large companies that engage in very sharp dealing which could easily be argued to not be in good faith. Pretty much every provider of financial services to the poor, for instance. The fact that they generally get away with it, because they can afford expensive lawyers, does not make it right - even in the narrow legal sense.)

  7. Coderer Says:

    I've got it: when the dude gets your $200, he can send an item that's *technically* money, but of questionable actual value. Like the modern-day equivalent of $2 in some European or African currency that's no longer in circulation... it couldn't be *exchanged* for anywhere near $200 but there's enough weasel-room in "collector's value" to avoid losing your shirt in a lawsuit.

    Err, not that anybody should actually *do* this, mind you....

  8. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Yep, that one's been done too :-). Pay a mere $US1000, get back "One Million In Legal Tender Currency!!"

    (Again, this fails the good-faith test, and is clearly actionable - but good luck suing some dude in Ghana who sent you a wad of former-Zimbabwe-dollars or whatever.)

  9. Major Malfunction Says:

    Well... Since it's for a humanitarian cause, could I claim it on tax?

  10. Soto_Jester Says:

    i just have to say that i think someone hacked my paypal cause i did not send that request. im sorry that happened to you. i am in the process of finding out how or who did this with my account.
    thanks for letting me know.

Leave a Reply