I worked with four scammers in the spring and summer of 2016, then things were relatively quiet the year after 2017 with just one swindling attempt from Richard Matt of the “Elite Travel Agency” in September 2017. I exchanged the usual and procedural scamming victim pleasantries with him, then a bit more than halfway through the swindle cycle he gave up on me. This is probably because he noticed that whoever he had delegated his target prospecting work to had done a poor job in selecting me and I was likely just playing around with him. So I wasn’t able to play this scammer out to the end, burst his balloon at the bitter end by telling him no, I was not going to send them thousands of euros, pounds, dollars or whatever.
Please don’t let any scammers know about this web page! The objective here is to make these miscreants waste their time on people like me who haven’t been fooled for a second, distracting them from baiting others who might fall for their scam.
On December 22nd 2017 I received an e-mail from “Peter Tetteh”, asking me to buy air travel tickets for two people traveling between Atlanta & Lagos and Accra & Istanbul. The mention of Lagos is makes the request suspicious right away considering that’s the capital of Nigeria, a country famous for its scammers. Beyond that, asking someone else to buy plane tickets is ridiculous considering what’s become of the travel industry in the last ten years. When you want to go somewhere you search Google for the flights, you inevitably get directed to Expedia where you can choose your dates, times and prices. I searched revpetermills.2itb on Google and about half of the results were scam warnings. Here’s the story so far:
Reverend Peter Mills’ home page, with the classic look of a nasty evangelical web site, with just three links: “About”, “Contact”, “Guest book”, the latter is not configured and thus is not working. Beyond that, his web site appears not to have been updated since 2010, is hosted on 2itb.com, an outfit that strongly emphasizes in a scammy search engine optimizing kind of way how free their services are, making them a good choice for hacking together a throwaway web site.
Date: Fri, Dec 22, 2017 10:28 am
PLEASE I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU MAKE FLIGHT BOOKINGS FOR TRAVELERS FROM THE USA ? I HAVE A NEED FOR TRAVEL SERVICES FOR SOME OF OUR ASIAN, SOUTH AMERICANS, EUROPEANS, AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST THANK YOU AND HOPING TO HEAR FROM YOU SOONEST WITH THE DETAILS OF THE CONFIRMATION AND THE FARE . STAY BLESSED . BELOW ARE SOME OF MY FLIGHT REQUEST WITH THE NAMES OF THE PASSENGERS ROUTING AND TRAVEL DATES PASSENGERS NAMES
4)LAST NAME:MAHAJA FIRST NAME:HALIMA LOVENA (MRS)
ROUTING ; ATLANTA ( ATL) LAGOS (LOS) ATLANTA ( ATL)
DEPARTURE DATE :28TH /DECEMBER /2017
RETURN DATE : 05TH /JANUARY /2018
AIRLINE :PROFFERED EMIRATES AIRLINES or ,DELTA AIRLINES KLM
CLASS :ECONOMY CLASS
1)LAST NAME :BONSU :NAME FIRST :PHILIP MENSAH (MR)
2)LAST NAME :KWAME :NAME FIRST :OSEI NANA(MR)
ROUTING ;ACCRA (ACC) / ISTANBUL(IST) / ACCRA (ACC)
DEPARTURE DATE :25TH /DECEMBER /2017
RETURN DATE :30TH /DECEMBER /2017
AIRLINES :PROFFERED TURKISH AIRLINES
CLASS :ECONOMY CLASS
PLEASE DO GET US THE BEST FARE FOR THIS DESTINATION WE WAIT FOR YOUR URGENT RESPONSE, WHEN SENDING ME THE FARES AND THE BOOKINGS KINDLY ADVISE ME WITH YOUR PREFERRED METHODS OF PAYMENT, IF YOU ACCEPT CREDIT CARD FOR PAYMENT KINDLY LET ME KNOW YOUR CHARGES ON EITHER AMERICAN EXPRESS, VISA CREDIT CARD OR MASTER CREDIT CARDS.
THANK YOU AND WAITING FOR YOUR QUICK RESPONSE.
LAMBETH ROAD BRIXTON HILL LONDON . SW2 5BB
ENGLAND, UK Tel: 447045701299 OR 447011184482 Fax:+448701308036
CONTACT US ON +14105419170 email@example.com
This message hangs together like catfood salad and I love the ALL CAPS bold text. Asking someone to buy plane tickets for you is like asking someone to pick your nose: it’s better to know how to do that yourself. Searching the Lambeth Road address on Google Maps indeed shows some kind of church in Brixton though it’s named the “Brixton Community Church”, not the Christ Church Mission as on Peter Tetteh’s web site. The Internet address “firstname.lastname@example.org” above is completely invalid, an e-mail address never has “www” and a web site address never has an @ sign. I wrote back:
Thanks for writing, it will be my pleasure to provide travel services for your clients! After doing a quick search with my usual flight providers I see that the total for flights between Atlanta, Lagos & Istanbul and Accra amounts to about $2500 in economy class.
My preferred payment method is PayPal, whose web site also accepts transfers of funds using all the major credit cards, including American Express and Visa. With your confirmation I will be able to send you the exact fees, dates and times of the flights…
All the best,
Thank you very much for the fare, i would like to know which type of Credit Card you accept since that is the best way for me to effect payment so that you can go ahead and get the tickets issued and send to me .
Also i would like you to tell me your charges so that i can send the card details to you as urgent as possible .
Waiting for your quick responds.
December 23rd 2017
A closer examination of the flights for those days shows the cost is more precisely $2,700. My professional service fee for the reservations is $500, and the funds may be transferred by Visa bank card.
Please do send me your address in preparation for sending the airplane tickets…
Very truly yours,
thanks for your reply i will like to make the payment with my master credit card.I will like you to get the reservation card done after i view it i will send you the credit card details so you can run charges. i will wait for your quick responds
It will be my pleasure reserving and purchasing airplane tickets for your clients, to do so I will need your MasterCard information, which is to say:
Full Name on the card
3-digit code on the back of the card
Please also provide me with your postal address so I can mail the plane tickets to you once I have received them…
All the best,
December 24th 2017
Thank you very much and will like to confirm the flight on details and have below now the (1) MASTER Credit card i will like you to charge equally for the tickets i advise you charge each card for half the amount and advise me accordingly when the transactions are carried .
When transactions have been confirmed you can go ahead and send me the receipts for the tickets confirmation .
NAME ON THE CARD :KENNETH LEE
CARD TYPE : MASTER CREDIT CARD
ACCOUNT NUMBER' :5523 2240 3044 6788
EXPIRY DATE :01/19
SECURITY CODE :347
Thank you and waiting for your quick responds .
Okay, he’s done it, he’s sent me his bank card details. But I’m loath to do anything with his credit card information even if it’s valid for fear of getting mixed up in some sketchy and dodgy financial affair. Furthermore, at this point I still don’t understand how his scam is supposed to work, unlike other scammers I’ve worked with: I use his bank card information to purchase plane tickets, perhaps charge far more than what the tickets cost and then… what?
There are various sites that allow verification of bank card information, one of them said “5523224030446788 is a valid Credit Card/Debit Card Number, the card was issued by Barclays Bank Delaware, has a valid checksum, has a correct length, the card brand code (MasterCard) is valid, however although the card number is valid, this does not guarantee that it exists.” I wrote back:
I tried to purchase the plane tickets with your MasterCard number and on the Expedia web site I saw a notification saying the card information is not recognized by their bank’s system.
Could you check over the card information and send me corrected coordinates? Alternatively you could transfer the $3,200 through PayPal. Let me know what you think…
All the best,
5523 2240 3044 6788
Hello,thanks for your reply.hope all is well,please kindly check the card very well because this is the card i use and i don't have a PayPal,i just check from the bank and everything is okay.Can i get your contact number.will be waiting for your quick responds.
For the “contact number” I left my cell phone number in my e-mail signature, though when dealing with scammers I methodically delete my landline number and my address. I wrote back:
December 25th 2017
I tried the MasterCard numbers/information again today and Barclays Bank Delaware declined the transaction, possibly because they’ve noticed from my IP address that I’m traveling in the United Kingdom at the moment.
Perhaps the easiest way to handle this would be by check, let me know what you think…
To be continued…?
All through the year of 2018 the scammers left me alone, then in June 2019 “Christopher Mecray” wrote asking me to photograph two meetings of his employees in Paris.
All images are © 2020, David Henry, all rights reserved. Written permission is required for any use.