I had a run-in with a phishing scam recently, I think people should know about it…
First they had a listing on Craigslist for an apartment in Jackson Heights for $550 (what a steal right??). Well, me being naive, I wasted 10 minutes of my life explaining how I would be a great tenant to “Melanie Becker” of melanie.becker11@gmail.com

Heres the message I received a couple of days later:
“Hello,
Thank you for your interest. I have available the apartment but now I’m in London, United Kingdom with my job , I will stay here for 3 years. So this is the reason that I want to rent the apartment. I can rent you the apt for max 3 years because I have a contract here for this period. I’m the owner of the apt and its like in the pics. The rent for 1 month is $550.00 including all utilities (water,electricity,internet,cable, parking). You can move in the apt in the same day when you receive the keys.I must inform you that the keys from my apartment are with me and hope that we will find a compromise.
Thanks.”
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I knew it was a phishing scam of course because
A) they use no names in the email
B) this person is out of town and of course it will lead to some wiring of some sort
C) unfortunately, $550 in JH is too good to be true ( I hate that phrase )
D) I googled the first line of the email and found another person who got this message, wrote back, and received another message from the phisher
SOOOO, I copied THAT message and wrote it back to the phisher….
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From: me To: the phisher
“Obviously we need a way to complete this deal that will allow us to make sure we receive what we are after. I have found a way for us to complete the deal safely and fast, and in this way you will receive the Keys in less than 2 days, if you move fast as well. The solution is provided by a company called TNT which is similar to Fedex, DHL orUPS, which will handle the payment and delivery of the Keys.I have found a procedure that will allow you to pay for the rent of the apt only after you will receive the keys it and through this way you will see it and decide if you will stay in the apt or not before I receive my payment.Please click on the link bellow to the TNTwebsite to see how we can complete the deal safely and fast directly from the website of the company where the procedure is explained:http://www.tnt.com/country/en_generic/services/special_services/timecritical.html Let me know if you are interested please because I really need to take care of this matter by the end of the next week.Regards, ”
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Now, I thought this was a real smart alec thing to do. Maybe the person would find it funny or come clean. I hoped I would get some sort of human response.
I was naive again, Here is the next message:
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From: “melanie becker” To: Me

“Like I said, I will pay for a 2 days delivery so you will receive the Keys and the contract signed by me right away.I will explain to you step by step how this will work .
1) First you will have to send me your full name and address. I will need them for the shipping.
2) I go to the TNT store and leave the Keys and the contract onto your name as the intended receiver.
3) TNT will check the envelope to see if everything is OK with it and also the legal papers that will come along with the Keys.
4) TNT will send you a delivery notification to let you know they have the Keys and the papers in their custody, in which you will be told that they have the Keys and that they checked it.
5) At this point you will have to go to a Western Union Agent
Location and make a money deposit on the TNT payment agent name for the amount we agreed .
6) After you make the deposit you will have to send the info about the money deposit to TNT (MTCN, sender’s name and address)
7) TNT will verify the payment informations and if everything is in order they will deliver the Keys and the contract to you .
8) After you receive the package , You will go and check the apt and in 2 days you must contact them and tell them if you keep the apt or not, if all is in order you will instruct TNT to send me the informations about the money deposit and I will be able to receive the funds . If you don`t like the apt they will send your money back to you and you will send them
the keys and the contract to them.
I will pay TNT for the shipping and you will pay Western Union for the Money Transfer fee .
Let me know if we can do this.
Thank you, ”
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So this person didnt get the fact that I sent them their own spam message back to them, and just proceeded to send the next in the string of messages to me.

Soooo, what do I do now? I don’t think anyone has gone beyond this point in the scam. I am playing with my favorite email address now, and I don’t want to taint that.
ahh, the person probably doesnt even speak english, there’s no use in dealing with them.
END.

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