Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their emails?

Discussion in 'TechTalk' started by zarathustra, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. zarathustra Perch

    I received an email yesterday - I've no idea why the scammer would send their bogus email to me as well (I guess they're not too bright), but it was basically saying they were looking for representatives in the US and Canada to sell my products for a commission. They used my website name and put a bogus address, phone number and email address. This morning I've had at least a dozen emails from people asking if it is genuine - fortunately these people had the sense to actually come to my website and contact me directly, not using the email the scammer had placed in their mass emailing campaign.

    I googled the phone number and found they've run the same scam with the details of other art based websites. I checked the IP address from the original email they sent me, which shows a location in the States, but I'd imagine it's Nigerian in its origins.
    I don't think there's really anything I can do, other than to warn people who contact me directly that it's a hoax. Just don't want somebody to fall for their scam and then start giving me grief for it later. Anyone else been in this position?
  2. Stephen US Operations

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    SPF record would be one start, but did they use a valid email address? Possibly that email address has a weak password if they did.
  3. zarathustra Perch

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    Thanks Stephen. I've had to respond to about 30 people now. One or two are not very nice, threatening to report me (to whom, or how, I don't know), even though it has absolutely no bearing to me whatsoever. It's very frustrating and wasting a lot of my time.
    I had thought they'd sent their email to me too originally, but it was a kind soul, copying and pasting their scam email to warn me what they were doing. I'm sure it's Nigerians behind this though. It wouldn't be the first time they've targeted art based websites.
  4. zarathustra Perch

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    Here's the bogus email.

    Greetings,

    It is my pleasure to write you in respect of ArtGraphica,London,United
    Kingdom.We produce and export high quality textile materials,fine art
    prints,posters,framed arts and gifts items.

    We are seeking for reliable representatives that is trustworthy and
    reliable,who can help us establish a medium of getting to our customers
    in USA & CANADA.

    You shall be recieving all forms of payment on our behalf from our
    customers being our representative. It does not affect your present
    job,its strictly online job and absolutely legal.You shall have ten
    percent commission on every payment made through you as your
    remuneration.. You could make over 1200 U.S dollars weekly depending
    on your response to the job.

    We are grateful for your attention.Your email was forwarded by
    www.monster.co.uk at our request, because you or somebody else has
    subscribed for the delivery of the job offers on the Internet.

    JOB DESCRIPTION:

    1. Recieve payment from customers
    2. Process Payments
    3. Deduct 10% which will be your commission/pay on Payment processed.
    4. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the
    offices you will be contacted to send payment to


    If you are interested, please furnish us with the following details
    below:

    1. FULL NAMES. \\\" as it is to be stated in every payment issued to you

    On our behalf\\\"...................................
    2. RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS \\\"Where payments will be delivered
    to\\\".............
    3. AGE .........................................
    4. Sex .........................................
    5. OCCUPATION :..................................
    6. TELEPHONE NUMBER ........................................
    7. FAX NUMBER....................................
    8. DO YOU HAVE ANY CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS ?.......
    9. ARE YOU EMPLOYED? ....................
    10. HAVE YOU WORKED AS A REPRESENTATIVE BEFORE?.............
    11. IF YES,IN WHAT CAPACITY?..........

    Visit our website:http://www.artgraphica.net



    PLEASE REPLY TO THIS EMAIL ADDRESS ONLY: removed


    If you are interested, please get back to me as soon as possible.We
    wish you good luck and happiness
    .
    Friendly Regards,
    Michael Gifford.

    Coordinator
    ArtGraphica
    Unit S4
    245b Coldharbour Lane,
    South London
    London, SW9 8RR

    United Kingdom.
    WEBSITE:www.artgraphica.net
    TEL: + 44 (0) 7005942473
    FAX: + 44 (0) 7005942459
  5. nzkiwi Perch

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    They are not interested in your products - only your reputation.

    This is a typical money laundering scheme. The scammers are looking for mules to launder their ill-gotten gains. Their scam victims deposit money into an account owned by the mule who then sends it on to the scammers using methods that are difficult or impossible to trace. The mule's career is usually short as law enforcement agencies take a dim view of such activities.
  6. liming Perch

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    I think this i known as a Joe job.

    You might try having a notice on your website (e.g. Are you getting spam from...?) and then that takes them to a page that describes what's going on.

    I remember seeing banks and credit card companies have these big prominent notices warning about phishing emails and what-not.

    Best of luck to you!
  7. nzkiwi Perch

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    It would be a Joe Job if the intention was to damage Artgraphica's reputation. That may happen, but that's purely as a side effect. The purpose would be to either launder money as I mentioned above, or on reflection, a more likely scenario is a version of the 419 scam where payments made to the victim are fake. The bank discovers that fact after the victim has forwarded payment to the scammer.
  8. zarathustra Perch

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    Still to this date I'm having to respond to emails asking if it is genuine. My concern is that somebody does not go to my website to ask me personally if it is a bonafide, gets stung by these scammers, and then try to proceed to take it out on me.
    In another reply, somebody told me it was sent from Samuel.Rios@bristowgroup.com - when I check the website it seems like a big reputable website, so I'm sure they've simply used this to mask their location, They also tried the phone number and it went to an automated 'soccercoach' phoneline.

    Appreciate the replies. Really seems to be nothing I can do to defend myself against this type of scam. I'm sure after they've milked it enough, they'll move onto somebody else.
  9. Stephen US Operations

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    Looks to me they are possibly using multiple forged fronts(like yours) to do this, and that bristow company is also a victim of it as you are.
  10. zarathustra Perch

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    It's very frustrating having to respond to all these emails telling people it's a scam. I don't want to put a great big message over my website, because not only could it upset the balance of my website in the search engines, but it also would not look very professional and could further harm any reputation I have.

    One of the emails I got today was this, so you can see the sort of people I'm having to deal with as a result of the scam. It would be funny if I didn't think the guy was for real.

    Message: I get these f*****g e-mails telling me about job opportunities. I\\\'m wealthy... but am also looking for additional $$$. Which must be up front or I will HURT people. I\\\'v been in and out/// if you know what I mean. Lets get togeather.
  11. Stephen US Operations

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    Actually to me that sounds like a scam baiter on purpose.
  12. zarathustra Perch

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    You're probably right Stephen.
    I don't know how long these scammers intend to keep their campaign running. It comes in pulses, and on the days I have to respond to more people warning them it's nothing to do with me, I can see the stats for my website increase by a few hundred daily visitors.
  13. Stephen US Operations

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    If it is still going that they are sending out using your domain as a reference I think you'd be best to put a notice on your site. I have seen notices like this places on reputable banks and other sites when there is a problem, customers don't see it as a mistrust as long as well written.

    Some of them I have seen have a big ! in a yield looking sign(road yield), then under it a brief statement saying something along the lines of:
    NOTICE: We do not send emails offering ...... or requesting passwords of any kind, click here for more information.

    On "......" they would put a word like jobs, etc, whichever matches the spam, Then on the more info just have a little more information it restating that the site does not send such offers to people and any mail claiming to be for this purpose is not legitimate and should be thrown away.
  14. skypanther Exalted Code Master!

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    You mentioned being worried about SEO if you put up some sort of notice. If it were me, I'd use jquery (or your favorite javascript library) to do something like one of these options:

    1) After the page is loaded, insert a new DIV near the top of the page with your warning. Most spiders don't bother with javascript to my knowledge. So, they wouldn't "see" your data at all.

    2) Create one of those javascript-based "dialog boxes" that appears over your content, then disappears automatically after a few seconds...the div would be at the end of your HTML and shown to the user by the script.

    Tim
  15. Stephen US Operations

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    It looks like the scammers have renewed their attacks on your reputation, I think you are going to have to put an anti-spam, anti-fraud notice on your site saying that you do NOT send job offers.
  16. zarathustra Perch

    Re: Can I do anything about scammers using my website name and address in their email

    Thanks for the replies. I thought it was all done and dusted, but recently they've started up again. I've added a blog to the site to warn people

    http://www.artgraphica.net/wordpress/?p=34

    I appreciate the advice and help, but I really don't want to stick some ugly notice up on my homepage. I still have to respond to people who think I am sending unsolicited spam, or think I have a genuine job offer. One or two people are quite abusive as they think I am the source. I try to respond to everybody, but it takes a lot of time out of my mornings, and quite often my reply emails don't get through the receipient and their host thinks I am spam (this is particular common with comcast addresses, who do not seem like Jodohost!)

    What frustrates me is that if you search for my domain name in google, there are a lot of forums and sites talking about the scam, and it's now associated with my domain name. Obviously if you read the thread it states it's a scam and most say it has no bearing to the website addresses they use, but it's still not good. :(

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