Every year, several members of the ScamSurvivors team meet up to share 10 days together by the sea. This year, when doing the booking, I spotted that a 2 week booking was a better deal than a 10 day one, so my wife and I spent a few days at the place before collecting the rest of the crew. A fun time was had by all, many laughs were had, many drinks were drunk and so on and so forth. That’s not the important thing, plus I can’t show you any snapshots from it. During those 14 days, I did my best to leave my laptop in its bag and enjoy being on holiday. When I got back, there was a huge backlog of work to be done, including over 270 scam emails to be filtered through and posted up. Now, this is where the point of this blog post is finally reached.
Usually I work through my catcher account and post the scam emails I receive as and when they arrive. The most one may sit in my inbox is 12 hours. This time however, I got to see a much larger selection at once. I noticed a few things that I’d like to share with you.
Firstly, +4470 numbers. For those unfamiliar, these numbers are “follow me” numbers, and until recently were treated like premium rate numbers. Skype point blank refuses to let me even call them, knowing how much they cost. These are a throwback to before things like Skype numbers became popular, when scams were simpler. As I was plowing through the emails, I saw several still being used. I also saw +23470 numbers being used, probably in equal amounts. These are from Nigerian mobile networks. This led me to wonder if some scammers are still using the +4470 numbers due to their familiarity with the +23470 ones. I can’t say for sure, but it’s certainly a theory that’s worth keeping an eye on. How many of the +4470 users are Nigerians rather than scammers from elsewhere in West Africa?
Secondly came the emails that arrived during the weekend. The number would drop to probably half over the weekends, but what I also noticed was that the amount of “repeats” doubled. Typically, around 20% of the emails I receive are ones I’ve received before. However, over the weekends that number would double. So why would this be? Is it because the scammers who work weekends are newer/more desperate and simply sending out their script to the same sucker lists several times? Are the more successful scammers taking the weekends off to spend their ill gotten gains, leaving those lower on the ladder to continue trying to collect the scraps left?
Truth is, I don’t know the answer to either question. Right now they’re just theories that are worth keeping an eye on. If you’ve noticed the same, please let me know so we can put our heads together to try and work out the bigger picture.