Love at First Bite? — We suspect that our readers across the world can relate to the expression “love at first sight.” Afterall, love is a universal human need and the odds are that we have all been “smitten” at one time or another when we laid eyes on the eyes of another human being. This story is of a different kind of love… A scammer’s manipulative pretend love, born out of an accidental meeting between two people. Have you ever received random emails or texts usually sent from a woman in a foreign country who is looking to start a friendship with someone in the UK, USA or Australia, for example? Our friend Rob had never received any of these emails, until one landed in his inbox a few weeks ago. As you can guess, he responded. Oddly, at least 8 more woman have since contacted him in the same way during the weeks that followed. (What an odd coincidence, right?) What follows is a fairytale love story that blossomed via email between a beautiful young woman (i.e. scammer) and an older gentleman (scambaiter). And if you continue reading down to our Week in Review, you’ll also see similar scams that targeted this author via texts. I played with them only briefly just to capture their intentions, and then called them out on their fraud.
On February 27, Rob received an unexpected email from a woman using the name Aida White. (firstname.lastname@example.org) The email included a photo of Aida and she said she was looking for a new relationship. Both the awkward English and mismatch between her opening “Good evening” but email arrival at 11:47 AM suggested that the lovely Aida was reaching across countries and time zones to take a risk for friendship. Rob, of course, responded in the kindest and simplest manner “Hi, how did you get my email?”
Aida was clearly overjoyed by Rob’s sincere reply and felt as though she had begun to make an important, though tenuous, connection between them. A few days later, she sent Rob a long, detailed follow up email to his heartfelt but short response. That’s when Rob learned she is a 36 year old single woman from Kazakhstan. (Rob is 60-something.) Aida is also a Pediatrician working at a local clinic and she has a dog named “Ball.” (We imagine that this might be confusing for the dog when playing fetch. Google translate tells us that “ball” in Kazakh is pronounced “dop.” Dop, get the dop!) Rob also learned from Aida that she “sit in stock exchange Binance” because her salary is small. He wondered if she might be trying to sell him some Binance cryptocurrency.
As these two lovely people began to exchange more and more emails, two things were becoming increasingly clear… First, Aida was a beautiful woman who loved to take selfies and secondly, she was very interested to learn about the fascinating life of our friend Rob. Check out these photos she sent him! For a woman who claims that her salary is small, we couldn’t help but notice the Channel handbag seen in a few of her photos. A Google search informs us that this hand bag costs anywhere from $1500 – $5000 USD, depending on the model and whether it is new or gently used. Perhaps Aida purchased a knock-off for $70, or perhaps she borrowed it from a wealthy friend?
Rob replied and was encouraged to come out of his shell a bit, telling Aida a few personal details about himself and adding a single photo. In return, Aida exploded with information about herself, including many more photos! It warmed our hearts when Aida told Rob “sincerely conversation I could not hope for it.” He learned that this was the first time she ever reached out to a man across the Internet. She said that it was a miracle that Rob responded to her and she is so grateful to him for his lovely reply. In fact, Aida said that if Rob had not replied to her, she would have never tried again to connect with a man across the Internet. (Thank goodness Rob is a good man and replied to this sincere woman!) She confessed that she is like any other woman “who has hands, legs, main a Heart.” She confided in Rob that her birthday was May 28, her height was 172 cm (5’ 6”), she weighed 48 Kg (106 lbs), and she lives in a beautiful city in Kazakhstan called Esik. She also confessed to Rob that she has reached out and confided in him because she has no boyfriend, and lives in a small house surrounded by her gardens. She is an avid gardner! Aida also mentions that she has no computer and doesn’t well understand the Internet. We found that a little odd since she said in an earlier email that she was into Binance, a digital currency. Oh well, we likely misunderstood. (Click the screenshot below to enlarge.)
Less than two weeks after meeting Aida online, Rob was clearly feeling more comfortable with his new friend! He told her that he wasn’t married, but hoped that this would change in the next few years. Aida responded warmly to that, and revealing some personal information in confidence. Sadly, we learned that Aida had no father in her life and was raised only by her mother. She refuses to call the man “father” because he left her mother when she was pregnant. That must have been so horrible! She and her mother had a wonderful and loving relationship but, also sadly, her mom passed away in 2007 from Cancer of the stomach. Her mother left her with important advice about choosing a man to love and marry.
As you can guess, this friendship began to blossom into an internet textbook romance! Each time Rob replied with a few sentences about himself, Aida exploded with lots of personal information about herself, deep feelings of love for Rob and how much he meant to her. This was amazing, especially since it had been just a few weeks over which they exchanged emails. Rob kept requesting that they video chat but Aida said that she didn’t have a phone or a camera. Apparently, all those wonderful photos were taken by one of her dear friends, Viktoriya, who is an amateur photographer. Also, remember that Adia doesn’t have a personal computer. Rob told us that he was terribly disappointed to hear that. He urged Aida to ask a friend with a phone or use a computer at work, after her work-day of course, to try to video chat with him. But alas, she said it was not possible.
By March 22, Aida was calling Rob “my love” and was talking about getting a visa and coming to the United States to visit him! And then on March 23, after just 19 emails and less than a month of communications between them, Aida told Rob that she hit a roadblock on her plans to come visit him. The problem, it turns out, was not the cost of a visa. The visa was only $30 but would take months to apply for and there were no guarantees it would be granted. To streamline this effort to take only 1-2 weeks and guarantee her visa, Aida was told she would have to pay $360 for a Full Package of Service (FPS). But she couldn’t afford the FPS services and she hoped that Rob would pay for it. With this email, Aida included 4 very sexy photos of herself in lingerie. Rob continued to insist on having a video chat with her and discuss her problem of getting a visa, but unfortunately, Aida repeated that video chatting was not possible. (Why couldn’t she sell her expensive handbag to finance her trip?)
Dear readers, we’re sad to report that this “love at first sight” relationship came to a crashing halt. However, our friend Rob is no pushover and knows how to expose a scam when he smells one. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Aida actually has a history of scamming men around the world and Rob uncovered it! She’s even a bit of a celebrity! Check out her “scam profile” page at DatingScams.cc! “Aida” has been reported on at least two other Russian dating websites as well. Rob wasn’t surprised to hear this. You might think that his feelings were deeply hurt by Aida but we can tell you it isn’t true! In fact, since first hearing from Aida White, he’s suddenly found himself to be incredibly popular with beautiful young women from Eastern Europe and Russia. He’s been juggling online relationships with more than eight other women in just the last few weeks! Below is a photo of Sabina on the left, blowing a kiss to Rob, and another photo of Olga on the right. Olga looks like she’s barely 18-years old but that didn’t stop her from falling in love with our friend Rob. It’s no surprise because we know he’s so charismatic! Love is surely coming his way, if not at first sight, then it will be at first bite.
Rob was quick to point out that what these women are doing is seriously hurtful and has amounted to a billion dollar scam industry. Some men have lost their life’s savings from these scams and suffered greatly, as a result. According to this February 9 article from the Federal Trade Commision, nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam in 2022 alone, with a total loss of about $1.3 BILLION dollars! The medium loss was $4,400 per victim. Based on Rob’s experience, our experiences and that of others, once someone is targeted once, they are very likely targeted multiple times. And keep in mind that many other victims never report these criminals out of shame or embarrassment.
Rob also wanted our readers to know that even though scammer Aida never wanted to arrange a voice call or video chat, many of the other women scammers are happy to do so and thereby make their “love” more believable. One of the half-dozen other women whom Rob was engaging with online even agreed to hold up a hand-written sign with the date on it as he requested. She said her name was Lilia Podiavushak. She used two email addresses (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org) and contacted Rob in early March with the following message… “Hello, do you want to exchange photos? I’m sick of not having people to chat with. Is that the case in your country?” Offering the handwritten note with her photo was supposed to be proof that she was real and interested in continuing their friendship. However, look carefully at this photo of Lilia. Notice that the words look as though they are written on the paper she’s holding BUT the “y” in Monday is actually on top of her fingers! If you download and magnify this image, you’ll notice that the text has been photoshopped multiple times next to the fingernails of both hands. The text is meant to read “I want to be with you this week.” The point here is that this woman likely uses this sham to convince many men that she’s real. Rob, however, told us that he never heard back from her after she was “crying into her keyboard” when he refused to send her money and adding that he knew she was a low-life scammer.
FOOTNOTE: Rob continues to get hammered by random emails from women in other countries looking for a relationship. For example, below is the opening few lines of a LOOOONG email he got on April 6 from a woman in Kyrgyzstan named Altynai (Email: Altynai.email@example.com). And, for the record, Rob never posted his personal information with any International dating agency.
How do you do Rob! Thanks for your email! I understand that you are interested in knowing where I got your email address. I hope that it will not be a surprise for you if I say that an international dating agency has given me your email. This is called “Be closer.” They gave me your email and informed you that you are looking for a woman for a serious relationship. They helped me send you the first letter. Forgive me if this is a mistake and you are not looking for anyone. But if you answered me, then I think we need to start getting acquainted? I don’t know why but your reply ended up in my junk. I’ve added your email address to my contact list so your emails should no longer end up in the spam box. Please do the same so that my letters are also not lost among your spam, advertising and commercial offers. That way we could safely continue our communication, OK? I must confess that I was a little shy when I sent you my first letter. I had
a slightly strange feeling, but I think it’s understandable for anyone who has ever taken the first step to start dating. I just didn’t want to be rejected by you, despite the fact that we never saw each other in reality. In any case, you answered me and now I feel more comfortable ;))) To be honest, in the recent past I already tried to meet a man on the Internet through a dating agency, but this experience was sad for me, because he was interested in my intimate photos or the same type of conversations, which he never received. I think anyone can enjoy this kind of content on various websites that offer 18+ photos and videos, but my goal here is different. I am interested in a serious relationship based on respect, honesty, love and moral values. I don’t want to waste your time and mine. I want to believe that you are the right man for me, but time will tell us if we are made for each other.
Juul Class Action Lawsuit… Scam or Legit? — What Is Juul Class Action Lawsuit? Is It a Scam? Check it out and protect yourself with this FREE, all-in-one tool.
Love is in the Air, Email from President Biden, and News from the Week — Rob isn’t the only one being targeted by romance scams. Doug at TDS has received random texts from several woman, including the two below. But he’s not alone either. One Reddit user recently asked the Reddit community if anyone was getting random messages in WhatsApp from people such as this next screenshot. He said “It’s usually from some overly attractive woman and they’ll call me by a wrong name or say that their dog is sick. At first I thought it was legitimate and they just got the wrong number, but then they would attempt to continue the conversation despite being told they have the wrong person.” The Reddit member then blocked the phone number after this stranger asked “Are you American too?”
Doug at TDS received random texts recently from three phone number within 5 days. This was such an odd coincidence that he’s sure they were all the same scammer. He decided to have some fun with a text from “Emily” and then a text from a beautiful Asian woman named “Hannah.” After being called out as a scammer, “Hannah” waited a few days and then contacted Doug’s wife too! We can’t publish what Doug’s wife said to “Hannah” because we want to keep this newsletter family-friendly. Just use your imagination.
Speaking of imposters, check out these wonderfully exciting emails our friend Rob received a couple of weeks ago from President Biden!
There have been some very interesting articles in the news during the last couple of weeks. We wanted to share them with you…
From Consumer Affairs: How Scammers Are Able to Control Their Victims
From MSN: Hackers Can Take Control of Your Car!
From Clark.com: How to Spot Fake Online Stores
From BBC: A Billion Dollar Scam Network
Your Zelle Payment and Office 365, Geek Squad Invoices — Electronic payment services like Venmo, Zelle and Paypal have exploded in popularity. We’ve seen for weeks how Paypal has been abused but rarely seen scams disguised as Venmo or Zelle, until last week. Check out this email that looks like it came from “Zelle® Alerts” but really came from a Real Estate website in the Netherlands called bajeskwartier[.]com. The link to review your payment CLEARLY doesn’t point to Zelle!
Whenever you’re informed that you have an invoice or bill sent to you in digital format, you should expect it to include your name and other personal details, including method of payment and even the last 4 digits of the card used to pay for the bill. The vast majority of scammer emails have none of it! Like this email claiming that your Office365 order has been processed! Of course, a Google search for the phone number in this threat ONLY show websites in Turkey and Russia!
Here’s another perfect example of how these bogus phishing emails informing you of a recent charge don’t even contain your name, let alone other personal details you would expect! “Dear Customer” is the best they can do. However, we love their opening lines in the email with a misplaced exclamation mark and thanking us for trusting them!
Specialty Liquor Stores Online, Lenovo Thinkpad Reward — Since last September we’ve had the privilege of working with a scambaiter who goes by the handle “Whiskey” because he focuses on scam websites disguised as specialty liquor stores. With his help, we’ve posted an article about these fraudulent websites and now have listed more than 45 fake specialty liquor store websites. We mention this because these scammers keep posting new websites all the time, such as this one at Liquorty[.]com that was created in early February, though their site says they were established in 2019! Caveat emptor!
One of our readers gets heavily targeted with malicious clickbait. Last weekend he sent us this email claiming to offer him an opportunity to win a Lenovo Thinkpad. This was timely because the US Federal Trade Commission recently published an article on “How to Spot Prize Scams.” This one, however, is malicious clickbait and not a fake fee fraud. The shortened link service points to a nasty domain we’ve seen before and called mapgodss[.]com.
Docusign Document — Most people have likely heard of Docusign and many of our readers may have had some reason to use it since it was founded twenty years ago. This email sent to us at The Daily Scam may look like a Docusign email but the FROM address clearly shows it didn’t and the link to “Review and Sign” points to a “crap” DOT-xyz domain that was registered the day before we received this malicious clickbait. Run away!
Your Goods Cannot Be Completed and Tracy Bates Apartment — Clearly, the sender of this text to one of our longtime readers is not a native English speaker! “Your goods cannot be completed during the delivery process.” Oh, yeah. Right. Need we say anything more? Swipe left and select delete!
The reader who sent us this random text from “Tracy Bates” has no idea who she is or why she received this text. Fortunately, she’s smart enough to know that she shouldn’t click that link! Considering that the domain used in the link was registered just 2 days earlier means that there is very likely malware lying in wait. Deeeeeeleeeeete!
Until next week, surf safely!
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