But the most interesting scammer said: "for my safety, can I send you a 6-digit number, and you confirm it, so I know the listing is not fake?" I say yes, unsure what the scam was going to be, but sure it was a scam. Moments later I got an SMS from Google Voice asking me to verify my phone number. Mofo tried to steal my number, presumably to use it to scam other people. I was pissed and impressed.
Since there was no obvious scam, I've been wondering what the motivation for these was, and actually started worrying about whether someone might be trying to compromise my phone via some yet-undisclosed SMS exploit - why else would there be a systematic effort to get me to spend time exchanging a few pointless messages around the "wrong number" pretext that otherwise went nowhere?
I tried calling the senders by phone and found they were all Google Voice numbers, which eliminated the possibility that some actual rich guy had innocuously ended up with a number similar to mine.
I asked a few friends and no one else was experiencing the same thing. Glad to hear it's not just me.
That sounds just like the "binary option" business which used to be run out of Israel. The Times of Israel blew that apart with "The Wolves of Tel Aviv" investigation series. The binary option companies would hire new immigrants to Israel and put them in a call center to cold call and sell binary options sold by fake brokerages. The companies wanted people who spoke a foreign language so they could sell in that language. Scamming people outside Israel was legal in Israel at the time.
When, after years of scams, the State of Israel finally made that illegal, some of the binary options scammers moved into crypto. (Others moved to Bulgaria, where binary options were legal until a crackdown in 2021.) But the pattern is the same. Cold-contact, make friends, get people to invest in a fake brokerage, provide fake statements showing a win, refuse withdrawals.
I use Apple's Messages. If someone spams me, I report them. They're blocked and have to go through the extra work of setting up a new account to try again.
Compare this with, say, Google. Gmail lets spammers / scammers have limitless accounts and they don't do shit when an account is reported for spam. You can block and report Gmail spammers all day long and you'll get nowhere.
WhatsApp apparently still uses phone numbers, and they're owned by a company that wants engagement at ANY price. Are any of us really so dumb that we think they're going to do the right thing?
They claimed to be a banker (following the exact format from the exmaples in the blog) and I genuinely thought that they were a real person but even after I told them that they are texting the wrong number they kept forcing the conversation so I blocked them. A couple of months later they texted from another number but a different name but they continued the conversation from where we last left off.
Crazy reading the article now. I would have been devastated if I fell for it. I am usually very good at spotting scams.
They befriend lonely people (usually men) and slowly draw them into a crypto scam. It's a long con, takes a few months.
Lady: Doctor Lucy? My puppy is very slow and does not eat dog food, can you make an appointment for me?
Me: Unfortunately I do not treat puppies. Only adult dogs, adolescent foxes, and elderly coyotes.
Lady: Sorry, I added the wrong person, I just checked the number and I saved the wrong number for Dr. Lucy.
I left it at that. I wonder if I should try and bait the scammer. I do love messing with scammers. After the last message I was thinking maybe it was legitimately a wrong number.
Like the ones in this story, none of them ever had links or asked me for anything. I never interacted with them. They were kind of interesting at first but after a while I blocked the emails.
I can only guess that this kind of long game scam is what was happening.
The effort is higher (multiple accounts needed), but for some high-value targets might be an alternative to other scams.
Does this kind of scam exist yet? Can I file a patent, and sue scammers applying it?
has a wealth of information and examples of these
In my experience and in the other descriptions I've read, it is always a woman business owner from Asia, acts somewhat friendly and flirty, will talk about life with you in a very superficial way for a while in order to build a relationship. After a while they hit you with... a crypto scam or something? Like teaching you how to trade bitcoin but using some shady weird exchange that makes off with your money when you fund your account.
Now - can someone answer why I get 10 calls a day with no one on the other end? Either I pick-up and it's empty and the call ends a few seconds later, or they leave a 7 second voicemail of nothing.
It would be good if iMessage could create a "fraud/spam" marking for a message/contact similar to what email has today. WhatsApp seems to have a "report" button. fwiw - I have received more weird texts on iMessage and very little on WhatsApp.
I've also noticed that these scammers may have access to data from other sources as well. I'm moving at the moment and out of the blue receive a call asking me if I have a house to sell. I just said no and cut the call. But there is most likely a massive data gathering operation behind the scenes as well.
And how exactly does this differ from a REAL crypto platform?
I've been wondering what the scam was. I've gotten 3 of these so far. I've received actual wrong number texts in the past, so I want to let the person know they got the wrong number and aren't getting ghosted by their friend. But they just keep texting back, which is really weird.
With the first one I didn't know what was going on the person said they just moved to the country, which is plausible, so I didn't want to be a jerk, but when she asked for my name I stopped replying. When the 2nd one came with with the same pattern it was clear there was some kind of scam going on, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it could be, as they weren't asking for anything.
Like the scammer who was persuaded to greet a planeload of passengers debarking from a Helsinki flight, with a big sign that said "I will blow you" in Finnish (https://www.scamorama.com/smurf.html)
The only way to help with this is education - maybe we need a course on online scams that kids need to take to graduate, along with personal finance.
It may be a way to add a degree of positive reputation to those compromised accounts like another commenter suggested.
Someone sent me a very official looking “your payment for $370 in textbooks has been approved. Here’s your reciept.”
The thing is, it came from an official PayPal email address.
In reality it was a request for money using PayPal’s official system. They just filled the title and body with text to make it resemble a receipt.
Other people get a completely different mix. I wonder how these get determined.
What I do want to highlight is the deeper "why", and that is "why" are these people doing this? There must be a fundamental survival mechanism here, in a larger chain. These people may not have opportunities, the ones holding others captive. What kind of environment is needed to create this type of behavior? Surely we must address that at the core of it all. I think it comes down to basic resources, and this is where I think the vision of Jacque Fresco and The Venus Project can come into play. Which is to create a resource-based economy and evolve as a civilization to taking care of one another, it is a form of democratic socialism, which I think can solve this type of issue, and help us all be more integrated and happier.
(this is a joke)