Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dance related scam emails

Well, here is something interesting - dance related scam emails. Since I administer web sites and email of several dance related companies, I came across a few of these recently. They look almost legitimate, almost.


Here's the first one, actually two identical emails came on June 13th and 17th:
My Name is Mr David Banks;

I am looking for an experienced Dancing
teacher/instructor who will handle my client and teach them classic
dance in preparation of our local dance competition that is coming
soon .My client are 15 in number that will be coming over for the
lesson, classes and training.

I hope to get the best of your professional training or lessons;
please I will like you to teach them one particular dance .So I will
like to get the list of dances you can teach so I can choose the one
you will teach them.

Schedule Date of Arrival July 31st-August 31st
Daily Classes 4hrs every day

(Be reminded that the above date is adjustable depending on your calendar.)
We would appreciate it if you could make us a time table scheduling
our classes,
So please if you can give my client the best training, get back to me
as soon as possible so that I can make arrangement with a logistic
agent who will be taking care of their logistics need when they come
over for the training. I will appreciate if my inquiry is confirmed by
you, Thanks and have a nice day,

Great Regards
David Banks
41 grant avenue, LONDON.
W1G 9SR UK.
+447045721602
This one was a bit tricky to identify as scam. First red flag was that the email wasn't actually addressed to anyone, as if the email address was entered in Bcc field. It never mentioned company's name or web site, though this could be potentially interpreted as the sender being lazy and just sending the same email to multiple dance schools. He used a Gmail account, so there was no way to determine the source IP address, but the physical address listed is fake and doesn't match the postal code. David Banks is a very common British name, so person search didn't produce anything useful. The phone number, however, was used in other scam attempts ([1], [2]) and that made everything clear.

Email number two:
Hello
I hope this email meets you in good health and spirits. My name is Fredrick Mark. I am writing this on behalf of my Greek friends. This would also be my friends first visit. We would be coming into the country for a one month holiday before my wedding ceremony. As part of the wedding we would need dance classes/first wedding dance. We are looking for a dance teacher/instructor who will assit us with some few dance steps as well as give us a fun choreography which both us and the audience will enjoy. Please let me have the types of dances you teach. Do you do wedding choreography?

Date of Arrival: 1ST OF SEPTEMBER 2009
Date for Lessons: 3rd of September 2009 to 2nd of October 2009.
Wedding date: 11th october 2009
We would need 2 to 3 hours of lessons ( 4 days a week) for one month.
Time of lessons: morning hours
Number of Persons: 2 couples.

I will send to you my credit card details for a deposit for you to hold the date for us. I hope you have a credit card machine/PoS in your office? So confirm this and provide me with your
Your Full Name:..........
Contact address:..................
Phone/mobile number(s) :..............
Cost/deposit..............$
You are also to deduct the visa fees and taxes involved in processing this amount.

Please kindly confirm the reservation for the above dates so that we can process our accommodation within the region more convenient for you and us. Hope you would turn our dance into THE PERFORMANCE of the occassion.

Best Regards
Fredrick Mark
18 Brunswick Sq.
Broad Street
Birmingham
C7 7HW
UK
Phone: 701-112-1989
Email:[email protected]

Tip offs:
  • The typical Nigerian scam greeting.
  • No such address in Google Maps
  • Was sent from a web form instead of an email client
  • Source IP address is from Romania
  • Recycled contact info and name that was previously used in scam attempts: [1], [2]
Here's the third one, received it on July 23rd:
Hello,

I hope this email meets you in good health and spirits.I'M Engineer Dewar
gray. I will be coming into the country for a one month holiday before my
wedding ceremony with my wife-to-be and my Bulgarian Friends. As part of
the wedding arrangement, we would need dance classes/first wedding dance. We
are looking for a dance teacher/instructor who will assist us with some few
dance steps as well as give us a fun choreography which both us and the
audience will enjoy. Please let me have the types of dances you teach. Do
you do wedding choreography?

Date of Arrival: 1ST OF SEPTEMBER 2009
Date for Lessons: 3rd of September 2009 to 2nd of October 2009.
Wedding date: 11th October 2009
We would need 2 to 3 hours of lessons ( 4 days a week) for one month.
Time of lessons: morning hours
I will send to you my credit card details for a deposit for you to hold the
date for us. I hope you have a credit card machine/PoS in your office? So
confirm this and provide me with your

Your Full Name:.........
Contact address:..................
Phone/mobile number(s) :.............. for records and card payment.
Cost/deposit required...................$

You are also to deduct the visa fees and taxes involved in processing
this amount.

Please kindly confirm the reservation for the above dates so that we can
process our accommodation within the region more convenient for you and us.
Hope you would turn our dance into THE PERFORMANCE of the occasion.

Best Regards
Eng Dewar gray
48-50 Front Street,
Chester-le-Street,
County Durham,
DH3 3BD
  • This one was sent from our online contact form
  • This time the address is real, but points to a drug store, not a residence, or at the very least an engineering firm
  • And the first phrase: "I hope this email meets you in good health and spirits", come on... that has Nigerian scam written all over it
  • Quick Google search for "Dewar Gray" and you'll find this
It seems to be a pretty common type of scam, where con artist overpays for some service and then asks for excess to be transferred somewhere by Western Union or something similar. Common excuse is that part of the payment has to be transferred to translator/interpreter. Since the original payment drawn from a foreign bank, it might take up to three month to learn that it's fraudulent, meanwhile you'll be short the "overpaid" amount.

Never agree to handle money transactions that go to someone else. Make sure to have your bank verify the transfer before proceeding with booking. Old but true: if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.