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Monday 6 January 2014

Tracking the fake profiles used by scammers

My interest was grabbed by this weirdly mistranslated email, which appears to have been badly written in English and then put through a translator program that has stumbled over the original email's bad punctuation.

From:     mark dave [markdave440@gmail.com]
Reply-To:     markpetersloanfirm@gmail.com
Date:     6 January 2014 00:37

أنا السيد مارك بيترز مشروعة والمقرض القرض السمعة. نحن
شركة ديناميكية بقروض من assistance.We المالية إلى الأفراد
في حاجة إلى المساعدة المالية، التي لديها سوء الائتمان أو في حاجة الى المال
لتسديد الفواتير، للاستثمار في بأعمال تجارية ترغب في استخدام هذه الوسيلة لأبلغكم
أننا تقديم المساعدة موثوقة والمستفيد كما نكون سعداء لتقديم لكم
وloan.contact بنا عبر عنوان البريد الإلكتروني: markpetersloanfirm@gmail.com
وتشمل الخدمات المقدمة؛ إعادة تمويل، تحسين المنزل، قرض الاستثمار، السيارات
القروض، وتوطيد الدين، خط الائتمان، والرهن العقاري الثانية، والأعمال التجارية
القروض، والقروض الشخصية، قروض السيارات، قروض السيارات.

يرجى الكتابة الى الوراء اذا كانت مهتمة.

الاسم الكامل:
البلد والدولة:
مبلغ القرض المطلوب:
الإيجار الشهري:
الاتصال الهاتف:
الرمز البريدي:
مدة القرض:
هل تتكلم اللغة الإنجليزية:
This translates roughly as:

I Mr. Mark Peters legitimate and reputable loan lender. We
Dynamic company with loans from financial assistance.We to individuals
In need of financial assistance, that have a bad credit or in need of money
To pay bills, to invest in the business want to use this medium to inform you
We provide reliable and beneficiary assistance as be glad to offer you
And loan.contact us via e-mail address: Markpetersloanfirm@gmail.com
The services provided include; refinance, home improvement, investment loan, car
Loans, debt consolidation, credit line, and a second mortgage, and business
Loans, personal loans, car loans, car loans.

Please write back if interested.

Full name:
Country and State:
The loan amount required:
Monthly rent:
Contact Phone:
Zip Code:
Loan term:
Do you speak English:

We are waiting for your responds. 
Obviously this is a scam, but it turns out the "Mark Dave" has a Google+ profile with the following photo:

So who is this a photo of? Well, if you haven't checked out Google Images you might not know just how good the reverse image search is. Clicking the camera icon allows you to upload an image or reverse search an image by URL:

The results for that photo are pretty revealing and lean heavily towards scams:

This thread on RomanceScam.com explains what is going on very well. The pictures belong to an innocent person called Stuart James who has had their online photo collection plundered by scammers in what adds up to a particularly cruel type of identity theft. It is perhaps an object lesson in not sharing too much online, and it seems to be a particular risk for anyone good looking and/or in the military.

ScamDigger also has a gallery of images commonly used by scammers, with the caveat that the people pictured are all innocent parties which makes interesting (but depressing) viewing.

A reverse image search is certainly useful sometimes at uncovering fake profiles, and it's something that anyone with basic computer skills should be able to do. Note that you can also use TinEye to do a similar search with a slightly different set of results, and I guess there are other reverse image search engines available. but between Google and TinEye you should be able to uncover fake profiles with ease.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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