What a year it’s been for us.

I can honestly say that 2014 has been an absolutely brilliant year for us.  So much has happened.  The first big news was Firefly and I being asked to speak at the iDate conference in Cologne in September.  We were able to talk to the dating site industry about how scammers work and the ways to spot their profiles.  We also made some very good contacts through it.  It went so well we’re going to be attending the London conference in 2015, plus I’ll be at the Las Vegas superconference in January.

We also got the word out about scams a lot this year.  We were featured in several newspapers, the BBC news and a number of radio stations around the UK.  We’ll also have another big announcement soon about another media project we were involved in.  The BBC article was particularly exciting as it was something that took half the year to complete.

Next year will have more media work, plus we’re working on getting out our first book ready for the site’s third birthday in March.  There’s so much more we’re planning on doing.

I really have to thank the small group of volunteers that run this site.  I’m proud to be able to call them my friends.  We’re even looking to all meet in person in 2015, which should be brilliant.

So to everyone I say a Happy New Year and may you all keep save in 2015.

Regarding @yahoo.pt email addresses.

Yahoo has recently released the @yahoo.pt extension, so the scammers are flocking to it in droves to get their “custom” addresses before anyone else can.  Expect to see a lot of emails in the near future at least that end in @yahoo.pt claiming to be from banks, government officials, delivery companies and so on.

Don’t send money to the scammers. Here’s why.

A perfect example of why we always tell people not to send the blackmail scammers money:

“After Skype I was told to send £100. I said I only had £10 and eventually agreed to send £50. I sent this and they now have my name. They then asked for more and stupidly I sent another £200. Unsurprisingly, they have now said they want more.”

Scams are all about feeding desire.

Everyone has needs and desires, and those are what the scammers use as bait to steal your money.  It could be a desire for money, improved status, love, sex or even a desire to help those in need.  If the scammer can feed into the right desire, anyone can become a victim of a scam.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas to everyone from us all at ScamSurvivors.  Except the scammers.  Let them all just get a lump of coal in their stockings.  No visit from Santa for them, but a visit from the local police.

Here’s a typical example of a fraud settlement scam email.

ICPC NIGERIA (Anti-Fraud Unit)
we fight against fraud, funds delay and impersonation.
Head Office: Plot 802, Constitution Avenue
Zone A9 Central Area P. M.B 535, Garki Abuja

Attn: Dear Beneficiary

This letter will definitely be amazing to you because of it’s a realistic value.

Sorry for the inconveniences that was rendered to you in your line of Inheritance Payment transaction with some impersonators some while ago.

I know that this letter will hit you by surprise, but firstly I will like to introduce myself; I am (Mr. Nta Ekpo) the Legal chairman of “ICPC”, (Nigeria’s Anti-Fraud Unit).

On the 1st of October 2000, the President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria (Chief Olusegun Obasanjo) introduced a Commission named the “ICPC”, (Nigeria’s Anti-Fraud Unit) which is duly registered under the United Nations (U.N.O). This particular Commission was initiated to detect fraud/funds delay/impersonation of Government Officials.Secondly, we are mandated by the US Government to settle foreign debts/fraud victims/Un-paid beneficiaries to satisfactory in other to maintain peace in the world at large and also to create a good relationship with the international bodies.

Presently, we are being paid by the American government in other to avert beneficiary funds delays/fraud here in Nigeria.So far, we have settled the likes of (Mrs. Debbie Hargrove, Mr. Michael Wagner etc).

You are being contacted by this office today dated because your Case File (A) is the very first File on our Settlement Files Cabinet. From our intelligent investigations and Probing processes we discovered that you are a victim of fraud/funds delay.

The “ICPC”, is faithfully under my governance as the Legal Chairman of the great Commission and to this Authority I took an oath of allegiance to settle all fraud victims peacefully.

This Memorandum is to notify you that you will be settled by the Nigerian Government from our initial Deposit Account with HSBC Bank Plc London-Uk. You will be settled with the actual amount which you lost in your previous transaction, including your Inheritance Funds. Your settlement will be actualized within 3working days after your response to this Official Letter.

For further clarifications/investigation kindly send the below information to us immediately:

1. Your residential address.
2. Mobile and fax number (for regular official contact).
3. Your inheritance funds value.
4. Amount, which you have lost previously.

This above-mentioned information will officially enable us to carry out our verification processes and after that your compensation sum/Inheritance Funds will be Electronically wired into your designated Bank account.

Your immediate compliance to this will expedite actions on your Payment because here in this office, we have a lot of listed victims to be settled.

We await your urgent response.

Officially Signed,
Mr. Nta Ekpo.
Chairman ICPC Nigeria

More on iDate

The final agenda isn’t finished, but right now I’ll be speaking twice, on the 21st and 22nd of January.  Both of these are as parts of panels.  It’s also possible I’ll have a slot to speak on my own too.  There’s going to be lots of discussion on romance scams, so fingers crossed we’ll have more sites willing to work with us on raising awaresness after this.

The craziest thing I’ve ever been asked for money by a scammer for.

We will often phone up loan scammers asking for money for crazy things.  Of mine, my favourite was a call when I claimed to need the money for a sex change and then arranged to have a threesome with the scammer and his wife once it was done only to speak to his wife and tell her that her husband had agreed to a threesome, but missed out the whole sex change part.  The best one I’ve ever heard is a scammer that agreed a 16 trillion dollar loan so the baiter could build a death star.  For those unaware, it’s a spaceship made famous in Star Wars.

But how about what the scammers have asked for money for?  There were all kinds of silly ones, but the one that I find funniest is the request for $50 for tampons for the month.  This scammer (who was definitely a male pretending to be a female) seemed to think that a period lasted 3 weeks with a gap of a week until the next one.  It was a crazy bait that ended with my first signed underwear trophy photo.  If you want to read it, check out http://www.romancescambaiter.com/loveyayo.htm but beware that it does contain very adult humour and content.