More Scammers

PW Classifieds doesn’t permit email addresses in ads, as a safety feature. Lately scammers have been posting their emails in pictures. Several people have lost money to these people. Please remember that buying large ticket items sight unseen is always carries some risk. If you see any ads like this:

Image posted by a scammer.

Image posted by a scammer

Please report it. I’m sure that they will change their approach slightly now that I am exposing them, but you should consider any ad with an email posted in it to be a potential scam, and report it as such. Please, please don’t lose money to these criminals.
Incidentally I’m confident that the name in the email is NOT the criminal’s’ real name.



Well here it is April 2, and I managed to resist the temptation to pull any April Fool’s pranks. I’m proud of myself, and at the same time dissappointed. What happened to that care free spirit that once felt a good joke was worth a verbal (or physical) beating?

It has been over 4 months since I mentioned scammers, and more than 16 since I directly addressed how to help keep them at bay. Recently I received an email along the lines of:

I’m so tired of people posting free animals then when you email them they delete their ad off. They are scammers and should not be allowed to do this.

Well I’m right there with you. Unfortunately none of them ask me for permission. And just for the record, they rarely delete their own ads, their ads are pulled when they get reported as scams.

Most of these probably originate from Korea, Cameroon, etc. So of course I block
those countries from the site. Then they find virally compromised
computers on major cable, dsl, and even dialup networks. It is virtually
impossible for me to tell the difference between them and a legitimate

Fortunately the ad is usually pretty obvious. No one gives away a $1200
bulldog or yorkie for free. No one gives away a $5000 parrot for
free. When you see these ads, hit the report ad button in the lower
right of the ad. When a number of people report an ad, it removes the ad.

If the account has multiple ads that get reported that way, ALL of
the ads for that account are removed and the email address for that
account is locked out of the system.

I also regularly review removed ads and lock out the ipaddress they came in from.
Yes, that
means I am constantly banning ipaddresses on domestic networks
and thus potential legitimate users of the classifieds can’t sign up, so eventually I have to deal with that when a legitimate user tries to sign up.

Of course there is a never ending source of infected computers out
there, so all I’ve really done is made the job of the scammers harder.
It doesn’t end it, it only slows them down. You can help me slow
them down and thwart them by reporting obvious scams when you find


Spammers and Scammers

Over the last few days we’ve had an increase in the amount of spams, specifically nigerian style scam emails, being sent out to people. Most of the emails were sent from accounts starting with john774416@ or eagertobuy@. The perpetrators found an unshielded server farm in Chicago, where they were signing up accounts.

For those still not familiar with it, wikipedia has a piece on the scams. According to wikipedia this sort of scam has become Nigeria’s major export to replace their oil industry.

I booted several accounts that had been used to send spam or were signed up from the same source and then I blocked off the Chicago server farm from accessing our site.


Spammers and Scammers

Today we shut down another couple of low lifes that were sending out scams. I also dropped a reCaptcha in place on the mail form. If someone sends a lot of email through our site, it will start popping up to make sure there is a real human at the console and not a machine.