I normally feel sorry when the web swarms around something they want to make fun of but in this case it’s fully justified. If you’ve read about scammers who prey on eBay innocents, you’ll get a kick out of this meme.

A scammer tries to get someone to send him a $2000 PowerBook to the UK with a promise that funds put into a phony escrow account would be released upon delivery. Smelling something phishy, especially when a check on the registered domain of the escrow site doesn’t look legit, the seller goes along. These type of scams usually end up with the seller sending off a legitimate item only to never hear from the buyer again.

The scammer is usually overseas so there is no legal recourse. This happened to my neighbor where someone in South Africa saw his posting for his Volvo, offered to buy it and even sent a cashier’s check for the amount plus $3000 extra for shipping. Because it’s an overseas bank, it takes several days to clear so in the meantime, the scammer’s asking my neighbor to send the car off for delivery and also to wire the “shipper” $3000 real dollars. My neighbor had never heard of the bank which drew up the cashier’s check and grew suspicious. When he asked for further proof, they trail went cold. Of course the cashier’s check finally bounced.

In this case, the guy scams the scammer and writes the whole thing up complete with excerpts from his email conversations. He says the goods are enroute, stuffs a plastic three-ring binder with a bunch of keys from a busted up Windows keyboard pasted on the inside, marks the customs form as a $2000 notebook and sends it off.

But what really makes this a gem is the whole time this is going on, he is posting comments on a newsgroup asking for advice and basically getting egged on by the community. By marking the package as a $2000 computer, this forces the scammer to have to pay something like $200 in customs fees. Posters in London see the thread and check out the delivery address (a barbershop/internet cafe) and even go in for a haircut to stake the joint. The members of the bulliten board track the Fedex tracking number and someone even visits the shop at the time of delivery to try and get a snapshot of the fuming owner as he realizes he’s been had. The didn’t get the shot but they did go into the internet cafe and left “p-p-p-powerbook” on the screensavers.






One response to “p-p-p-powerbook”

  1. iankennedy Avatar

    A colleague of mine at work had a scammer hit her for an item she listed. Here’s what the scammer sent her:

    From: [email protected]
    Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 9:12 AM
    Subject: Payment and pickup arrangements

    Thanks for your reply, i am still intrested and okay with the price.This is how i will want us to seal the transaction cos i dont want any delay at all.So all i am going to do is to contact my associate in the USA to issue you a certified cashiers check of $3500 which will be for both the shipping and your own money $150.

    So all i will want you to do when you recieve the check is to deduct your own money and send the remaining shipping funds of $3350 through WESTERN UNION VIA to my International shipping agent that will come for the pick up. So if this terms are okay by you i will need your contact address and phone number so that i can forward to my associate who will be issueing you the check. I look forward to your reply.

    Thanks and Regards STEVENZ


    The shipping funds will be wired to my international agent that will come for the pickup he will be the one to arrange the shipping of the Metal & Glass TV Stand From USA to UK where i am living.now that we have an agreement I will like you to remove the advert you placed on the website so that you will recieve no more offers.the cheque will be sent to you via fedex. I will give you a call as soon as you reply.

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