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Adventures in Spam: Payment Processing Scams

September 15th, 2007

The next installment in my Adventures in Spam series features a fairly common type of scam email that has been getting more popular lately as increasing numbers of people are figuring out that they can actually make money online. It involves what is essentially a fake work-at-home employment offer- the scammer pretends to be a representative of a legitimate (usually offline) company, then offers to hire you as some type of payment processor or clerical worker.

In most cases, the true purpose of the email is simply to solicit a reply from you. If you actually reply with any indications of interest, the spammer-scammers will send another letter requesting some type of “processing fee” so that they can cover the cost of sending the relevant paperwork and materials to you. Usually this fee is a fairly small amount, like $10 or $20. The scammers are hoping that if they can advertise to enough “suckers” by spamming, they will achieve a high enough sales volume for the small amounts to add up to a significant amount of money for them. And of course, if the old cliché about a sucker being born every minute holds true, the same spam mail can be sent out again at regular intervals and provide the scammers with a steady income from “processing fees”. Here is a typical example of such an email that I received a few days ago:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Would you like to work online from home and get paid weekly without leaving or affecting your present job?

My company specialise in internal and exterior surfacing in concrete and stone. We work with architects and interior designers on schemes which have a high design and specification content. We have clients that we supply weekly in the States. My clients make payments for our supplies every week in form of US checks which are not readily cashable outside the United States, So we need someone in the States to work as our representative and assist us in processing the payments from our clients and I will pay HIM/HER 10 Percent of every payment processed. ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS RECEIVE THIS PAYMENTS FROM OUR CLIENTS IN THE STATES, GET IT CASHED IN YOUR BANK THEN DEDUCT YOUR 10 Percent AND FORWARD THE BALANCE TO THE COMPANY.

Prospective Finance Co-Ordinators Should Forward the following Info:

1) Referencing Position Number (PAUL DAVIES DESIGN USA REP. #202)
2) POSITION: PAYMENT OFFICER
3) SUBJECT: PAYMENT OFFICER Plus (The Given Referencing Position Number)

Whom To Contact:
NAME: PAUL DAVIES
EMAIL ADDRESS OF WHOM TO CONTACT: pauldaviesdesign(at)hotmail.co.uk

You should also remember to state your Reference Position Number in the e-mail for easy identification at the processing office. Once this is done you will receive an e-mail for confirmation within 24 Hrs. Thanks for taking time to read our offer.

I AWAIT YOUR URGENT RESPONSE.

Paul Davies Design Limited
192 Acre Road, Kingston,
Surrey. KT2 6EU.
Registered in England No: 1833755

Interestingly, a quick Internet search indicated that the company mentioned in the letter (Paul Davies Design) seems to be a real company and even deals with products and services related to concrete and stone surfacing. However, a quick search of one’s brain and common sense detectors would reveal that it is highly unlikely that a company of this sort would suddenly decide to outsource their payment processing tasks to random people online, all the while risking the reputation of their business by spamming thousands of people. As always, it is a good idea to actually use your brain and think about whether an offer may be legitimate or not before replying to it or paying out any money, especially if it is the kind of offer that arrives through unsolicited emails.


5 Responses to “Adventures in Spam: Payment Processing Scams”

  1. comment number 1 by: Ry

    Here is one

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Please allow us to disturb your precious time! We are the Asia biggest international and professional trade wholesaler/Manufacturer.

    TIPAU HONG KONG LTD. based in People Republic of Hongkong, is in need of representatives in Europe and North America and south America and Canada to represent its interests as a Middle Man (Representative)

    TIPAU HONG KONG LTD. is sourcing for a payment representative in United States of America, Canada and United Kingdom.

    The Payment Accountant Officer will act as a receiving payment agent in receiving payments via Bank Wire transfer. You will be paid total sum of 2500US$ as a monthly salary for your duties carried out as our payment recieving officer.

    Our client is only making payments via BANK WIRE TRANSFER and CASH, we need your help as a middle man payment officer to help us recieve payments in your country to avoid delays in transfer to China which takes over 2 to 3 weeks to reflect into our account, and it definitely causes delay in customer’s order shipment. But if transfered within same country it will reflect immediately transfer is made which will enable us give our customers fast and good services.

    If you are interested in working for us in your country do send via your Name and Phone Number to Mr. Jack Parker on Email: jackparker009@myway.com

    Best Regards,
    TIPAU HONG KONG LTD
    10/f First Pacific Bank Ctr 51-57 Gloucester Rd
    Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

  2. comment number 2 by: Karlonia

    Yes, this looks like a payment processing Spam & Scam all right- they even follow the same pattern of English usage mistakes as the Nigerian 419 letters!

    By the way, if you happen to have any information regarding replies from this “company” in response to inquires made by people who may have actually responded to this letter, please feel free to post it here.

    I have not tried doing any scam baiting stuff yet, but I would really like to see what kind of follow-up letters these spammers are sending out.

  3. comment number 3 by: Alma Luoto

    Yes I did receive the above-mentioned email today and thought that it might be another scam…

    And sure it is…

  4. comment number 4 by: Amy

    Here is the email response I got when I baited them.

    Dear Amy,

    Many thanks for the interest in our company’s job offer.We would like you to provide us with the following.

    Full Name:
    Home Address:
    Office Address:
    Home phone number:
    Office Phone Number:
    Age:
    Most provide /open account for this post.
    And to proceed as our accountant officer i will also like to know if you have an account with WELLS - FARGO BANK.

    Please get back to me as soon as possible.

    Thanks !
    Mr Anderson.

    Kawaski Wong-Wu / CEO
    TIPAU HONG KONG LTD
    10/f First Pacific Bank Ctr 51-57 Gloucester Rd
    Wan Chai, Hongkong.

  5. comment number 5 by: Tiana

    I just got that stupid email too.. damn.. I applied for a job with that Mr. Anderson and he send my email to the kawaski lee guy. and i just was looking up the company to see what it was and then i found this.. thank god.. I wouldnt have sent anymoney but damn my hopes were up!! haaa
    Thanks for havin this up there.. without it i would have been a sucker too

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