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    The greatest programmer ever! Not only writing code but saving lives.

    7 min read

    You probably get a hundred spam email scams per week. They are usually easy to spot but the scammers are getting more creative.

    Recently I have been receiving a new kind of scam.  They’re targeting web development and graphic design companies.  It’s basically a money laundering scheme.  It works something like this:

    1.       They contact you and say they need a website done for under $10k.

    2.       They will agree to pay you 50% up front on a credit card (stolen CC of course).

    3.       Then you in turn have to pay ½ to their “local consultant” via western union or some other service.

    4.       The customer typically claims to be hearing impaired so he can’t talk over the phone.

    It’s pretty obvious and easy to spot but people must be falling for this or I wouldn’t be still receiving these emails every week.  I almost fell for it the first time because at the time, we did actually have a hearing impaired client. But the conversation fell apart pretty quickly.

    After about the 5th time I decided to have some fun with the latest scammer.  Below is the hilarious exchange I had with this guy.  This is how I become “The greatest programmer ever! Not only writing code but saving lives.”

    My responses to the scammer are in Green

    And my commentary is in Red


    From: walter smith [mailto:waltersmith0010@gmail.com]
    Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2015 2:48 PM
    To: lance

    Hello I am walter smith and i am hearing impaired i need to know if you can handle website design for a new company and i also need to know if you accept credit cards as form of payment ?

    i have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now and the company  is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me?

    Thank you

    [Lance] Agro products & Kola Nut seem to be a favorite of this type of scam. Lack of punctuation and capitalization screams “scam”, let alone the grammar errors.

    On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 11:52 AM, Lance Keene wrote:

    [Lance] So, the game is afoot, let’s throw him a bone.  We don’t really accept credit cards but he doesn’t really need to know that little nugget.

    Sounds good Walter.

    We work with hearing impaired all the time and accept credit cards.

    Send me the requirements and we will do a fixed price quote and you can pay via credit card.

    We require 50% down to get started.



    [Lance] By now he’s thinking wow I’ve got a hot one!


    On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 1:16 PM, Lance Keene  wrote:

    I need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible teobroma.com.... the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.

    [Lance Keene] ok

    [Lance] Note: agroamerica.com is another common example website for this type of scam.  Do a google search on “Scam Agromamerica.com” if you want to read up on this more.


    1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.

    2. I want only English language

    3. I don't have a domain yet but i want the domain name as Walterbestfarmsproducts.biz

    [Lance] Ooooh, bad grammar in a domain name… how embarrassing!

    4. you will be updating the site for me.

    5. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.

    6. i want the site up and running before ending of next month.

    [Lance Keene] not a problem


    Kindly get back to me with:

    (1) an estimate

    [Lance Keene] Based on the number of pages it will be a fixed price of $5500 with $120/yr. hosting.


    (2) your cell phone number

    [Lance Keene] 603-722-0000

    [Lance] Not my real number but what does it matter, he’s hearing impaired, right?

    (3) And will like to know if you are the owner ??

    [Lance Keene] Yes

    my budget to be more than $2,000 to $5,000

    From: walter smith [mailto:waltersmith0010@gmail.com]
    Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2015 4:40 PM

    Thanks for your response, i am okay with the estimate and i wanna proceed so i will be depositing $2,500 using credit card so work can commence ASAP, i understand the content for this site would be needed so as for the job to commence so regarding the content i will need a Little favor from you and the reason i need this favor from you is because the consultant does not have the facility to charge credit cards and i also am presently in the hospital for surgery so i will be glad if you can help me out with this favor

    [Lance] Ok, here it comes, first the sob story, hearing impaired, surgery, gout, whatever, then the little “favor”.

    On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 1:53 PM, Lance Keene  wrote:

    What is the favor?

    Lance Keene


    From: walter smith [mailto:waltersmith0010@gmail.com]
    Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2015 5:07 PM

    The favor i need from you is. i would give you my card info's to charge for $5,300 so $2,500 would be a deposit payment for my website design and the remaining $2,700 you would help me send it to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he has the $2,700 he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you also the funds would be sent to him via cash deposit into his account, sending of funds would be after funds clear into your own account and also $100 tip for your stress...

    [Lance] Ooooohhh, a hundred bucks for my stress! Programmers hardly ever get tips. Yippii!!!  But wait, do we have to report tips?  I’ll try to not spend it all in one place.


    On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 2:16 PM, Lance Keene wrote:

    That’s fine.

     Lance Keene

    From: walter smith [mailto:waltersmith0010@gmail.com]
    Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2015 5:18 PM
    To: Lance Keene

     What merchant service do you process credit card?

    On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 2:20 PM, Lance Keene  wrote:

    PayPal handles all of our transactions.

     Lance Keene

    From: walter smith [mailto:waltersmith0010@gmail.com]
    Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2015 5:28 PM

    Thanks so much,i want you to understand that i really appreciate for helping me and understanding me but please i need to let you no that i would have love to run my CC on paypal cause paypal is the best merchant so far but my CC won't works on paypal have tried using you it few months ago all i have back is an error messages and have tried to fix this with my bank before getting sick but they told me i need to open a new account so ever since then have been using other merchant so please i will want you to set up and intuit quickbooks merchant don't worry about their charges i will add that up with my bills okay thanks so much.

    On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 2:33 PM, Lance Keene  wrote:

    [Lance] Ok, I knew PayPal was going to be the kiss of death but I wanted to keep the conversation going as long as I could, so time to get creative. I need to change the subject and get him talking.

    What kind of surgery are you having?

    Lance Keene


    To: Lance Keene


    Heart surgery

    [Lance] I can’t believe he responded.  But I still need more info, scammers are usually men of few words....


    On Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 5:43 AM, Lance Keene  wrote:

    Hi Walter,

    I had to leave abruptly yesterday. 

    By the way, where are you located, what city?

     Lance Keene


    From: walter smith [mailto:waltersmith0010@gmail.com]
    Sent: Friday, October 16, 2015 10:36 AM

    Good morning,here is my address:3583 Kalihi St,Honolulu, HI

    [Lance] So, this is actually a real place in Hawaii. See street view.  The scammers will choose an address far from the target “scammed”.  Hawaii is about as far from New Hampshire as you can get so surely I don't know anyone there.

    But I have a surprise for him. I’m going to fix his heart problem!!!  Then presumably I’ll get a bigger tip!


    On Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 7:54 AM, Lance Keene  wrote:

    What an unbelievable coincidence!

    My brother-in-law, Dr. William Chang, Jr., MD is the foremost leading cardiologist in Honolulu.  He works at The Queen’s Medical Center, Kuakini Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center and Wahiawa General Hospital.  Which hospital are you in?

    He owes me a favor. I’ll have him stop in and review your situation.

    Lance Keene


    From: walter smith [mailto:waltersmith0010@gmail.com]
    Sent: Friday, October 16, 2015 11:06 AM

    You must be mad

    [Lance] Oh, oh, I think he might be onto me now.  One final try to keep the conversation going.

    From: Lance Keene  
    Sent: Friday, October 16, 2015 11:22 AM

    No seriously, Bill’s a great guy. He works with the super wealthy (which I presume you are) and the poor .

    He’s got a big heart (no pun intended) and is always doing public service.

    Nothing like having the best of the best on your side when heading into an operation.

    I’ll have him stop in to see you. Where are you at?

    Lance Keene

    From: Lance Keene  
    Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 12:49 PM

    Hey Walter, 

    What happened to you, you disappeared, did you have a heart attack or something?

    You still interested in doing a website?


    [Lance] Doesn’t look good. He hasn’t responded in a while.

    From: Lance Keene  
    Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 12:23 PM

    Walter, dude, what’s happening?? 

    You still alive or are you pushing up daisies now?


    [Lance] Yup, pretty much a dead deal.


    From: Lance Keene
    Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 10:32 AM

    Hey Walter, You fucking dead or what??

    [Lance] Tried to get a final rise out of him but no luck.  Fun while it lasted. God I hate scammers!  Such a waste of people's time.

    I hope you found this was both humorous and informative.

    There are a lot of people out there who are desperate for work and falling for this crap.  I’m just doing my part making it harder for the scammers to succeed. If you liked this blog then pass the link onto your developer friends and warn them to beware and maybe they can have some fun with the scammers too.  Telltale signs are “hearing impaired”, “pay with credit cards” and the usual poor grammar, capitalization and punctuation.

    By the way, I’m not the only one who came up with the idea of screwing with the scammer. Comedian James Veitch did a great job at it. You can view his Ted Talk here.

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