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  1. #1
    Oct 2001
    Erie, PA

    Problem How to Protect Yourself and Bring Down an Internet Scammer

    How to protect yourself and bring down an internet scammer

    This is information I received from someone on another board who was successful in his attempt to bring down an internet scammer. While it appears to be good information, I haven't had the opportunity to try it out. As always, YMMV.

    This is most effective when used prior to initial contact in order to offer you the most protection. After that, the rest is pretty cut and dry. The biggest hurdle will be production of acceptable evidence for a warrant to be issued. Be sure to give me feedback on the contents and results.

    Here it is:

    Covering your own rear in an internet/long distance transaction is vital. When answering an ad, get all information that you can about the seller. Be sure to read the instructions completely before acting in any way. The info that you need is as follows:

    1. HOME phone number. It is easy to reverse trace, where a cell number is not. If you get a cell number, casually bring up the conversation of cell service. Is theirs good, what package and carrier? record and save the information both of home and cell.

    2. Get the seller's street address and mailing address if different. (ask if it is the same). Record and save the information.

    3. It is helpful to get the seller's work address and phone number through casual conversation. Record the information and save.

    4. Find out the seller's internet provider. Hotmail accounts do not count. The conversation could go like this: "Can you e-mail me a picture of the part? Then again, my server is so crappy lately it is a wonder that I get any e-mail at all. Who do you have for service? is it as slow as _?" Record and save the information.

    5. When sending payment, use a money order with enough room to put your name and address as well as the name and address of the seller. It is vital that you get a money order that allows you to put a description of what the money order is for. I use First Union Bank money orders because they have provisions for the above information. Keep a photocopy and receipt of the Money Order.

    6. Send payment via usps and use delivery confirmation. This allows tracking the shippment. This way the perp cannot claim the funds were not received and provides proof of USPS involvement. Keep the receipt.

    7. Keep a record of all phone calls (phone bills would be great) , keep all e-mails and print them out in paper form as well as a backup disk.

    8. Keep a record of the for sale ad location, and make a printed copy/disk backup.

    It is vital that you follow the above steps. The information above will give you an iron tight case and all of the information will be put to good use if the need arises. The following information centers around what to do in case of being ripped off. Assuming that phone calls and e-mails are getting you nowhere, you must now be a private investigator for a day or two.....

    1. Using the perp's address, do an internet search or whatever other means available, find out what law enforcement agency has jurisdiction over the perp's mailing/street address. Record and save the information.

    2. Find out what local law enforcement agency has jurisdiction over the location in which your first contact with the seller's ad took place from. Example: If you answered the ad from your computer at home, then the jurisdiction must cover your home address. Record and save the information.

    3. Find out the perp's Internet Service Provider's page and contact information, record and save.

    4. Find out the perp's cell/home phone provider, contact information. Record the information and save.

    5. Find the address and contact information of the perp's local post office. Record the information and save.

    6. Call the seller's work location at a time that the perp cannot answer the work phone and find out who runs/owns the business. Record the information and save.

    If all the above steps have been completed, Congrats! You are ready to wage war.......When doing so, it will be most effective if the perp doesn't know that the war has started, It is essential that the complaints be filed all in the same day with referance to all other complaints. Example: The post office complaint should contain a referance to the FBI complaint, ISP complaint, etc......

    1. Start a negative thread explaining the situation.

    2. Draft a letter of complaint with plenty of copies that outlines the transaction, as well as all copies of information that you gathered. This can be a basic form type letter and may look as follows:

    Dear (perp or agency),

    I am the victim of an internet scam involving the sale of auto parts.

    Here is a synopsis of what has occured. (time to give the facts here)

    I also have the following information that will be relevant: ( give as much of the perp's information that you have found including websites of negative info, ISP info, post office info, police dept. etc.

    So in a recap, I contracted to buy parts via internet from: _ (include address)

    I sent a money order in the amount of _through the US postal service to the above person.

    The perp will not answer e-mail, phone, etc.... and I need help. Can you provide assistance?

    Than you for your help,


    3. Gather all related information including web pages and the negative thread, and file a report with:

    a. The local agency that had jurisdiction over your first contact. IT IS IMPORTANT that all information in copy form be submitted to your local agency first. Be sure to include the perp's ISP provider, phone number,and the perp's local law enforcement agency that would pick him up. The local agency will take the report and foreward to the perp's local agency for their dispatch of an officer.

    b. The FBI internet fraud site

    c. The perp's ISP provider stating that the perp is using their service to commit internet fraud. Send via regular mail and e-mail.

    d. The perp's phone service/ cell provider for using their service to commit internet fraud. Send via regular mail AND e-mail.

    e. The US postal service for using the mail to commit mail/ internet fraud. Do two reports, one to your local office and one to the perp's office. Do both regular mail and internet e-mail.

    f. File a report with

    g. File a report with

    h. Send a complaint form copy to the work location of the perp that is addressed to the owner/manager. Make sure to include the phrase: " While you do not have any control over this individual when he is not at work, you should make sure that internet fraud is not being committed by the perp using company equipment or company internet access."

    i. Notify the perp and provide a list of all reports filed, that you have been forced to take action and that it is now completely out of your hands. The only way that proceedings can be dissolved is by the perp making restitution. Make it known that you gave him every chance, and now the authorities will take over. (at this point negotiating is pointless, the perp knows what to do.) End of discussion. Sometimes the most stubborn crook will do nothing until they get the knock at the door from the police. If that is what it takes, so be it.

    What to do when dealing with a minor:

    Everthing above works fine, but additional work in the area of intelligence gathering is needed. Usually if all the above information is obtained, internet searches can usually point the way to the parents. The parents are to be notified in the same manner as all the other agencies, including copies of complaints to other agencies. It is important that you do not threaten a minor via e-mail or phone conversation. Leverage can be used, but to physically threaten with voilence will affect your position when pressing charges.

    In closing,

    The lawmakers in this nation have realized the importance of a seperate task force dealing with internet fraud. Most police agencies have a seperate division that deals strictly with internet fraud. This helps speed up the process, being seperated from the kid up the block that steals a skateboard. I cannot stress enough, the importance of a strong determination to win. Failure is not an option and you must persist with the vigilance that the rotten little perp has stolen food right from your starving family's mouth and that THIS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED. Persistance and a strong outward display of confidence is required. Some of this is a simple game of Poker. Sometimes you bluff, other times you have the decisive hand. The above information and proceedures will give you the best possible hand, use it wisely and satisfaction will be your reward. Remember, the perp already has your money, you have nothing else to lose. You will cause the perp great stress by unleashing the dogs of war on all fronts and at the same time. Often this is enough to make them make restitution swiftly. For those that still think they can get away with it, using the above proceedures, a man wearing blue WILL show up on his doorstep, offering him a free ride downtown. Not only that, his ISP will cancel his service, the US Postal Service will dispatch warnings and may press for a warrant.

    UPDATE: This is a useful tool to help look up info on anyone. Thanks to cwolv for pointing it out to me.
    Last edited by Crazy Chuckster; 09-01-2005 at 05:38 PM.

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