Nigerian dating scam email addresses
These were supposedly photos of the sender, but one of them was clearly messed up; not only were the two photos of different people, but one was a man and the other a woman. These were obviously phishing messages trying to get me to click on the links.
However, although I noticed that right away, it took me a few days to realize that these were being sent directly to my email address rather than through Craigslist, and using my full name which wasn’t visible in my ad.
I thought perhaps the sender had made a mistake, or perhaps Craiglist’s mail gateway had corrupted the response, so I sent back a reply: “Are you interested in the [item]?
” However, after calming down and taking a few deep breaths, I realized what had really happened: the first response I received, to which I responded from my personal email address with my real name in the header, was a (successful) attempt to obtain my email address and name, which were then used by the miscreants in their subsequent phishing messages.
There are three reasons why they do this: (1) evade Craigslist’s spam / scam filters; (2) trick people’s personal spam filters by using their real names in the emails, usually a good sign that a message is not spam; (3) make the messages look more legitimate to people at a subconscious or barely conscious level through the use of a real email address and real name and the lack of the boilerplate warnings inserted at the top and bottom of every message that gets sent through an anonymized Craigslist address.
UPDATE [2013-02-13]: According to this article on Craigslist, as of February 10, 2013, they have implemented and are testing the idea I described below for fixing the problem described in this posting. I anonymized my email address in the ad, which means that the published email address was a random one at craigslist.org, and any responses sent to that address would be forwarded on to me.
Within 24 hours of placing the ad, someone responded to it, but the response contained nothing but the standard Craigslist boilerplate and a copy of the first line of the ad.
First, they claimed to be interested in my ad but then proceeded to indicate that the sender was actually interested in “getting to know me better” or some such thing.I was encouraged me to visit the sender’s private profile on some sort of adult dating site at an included link, whose text was something like “ or “ but whose actual link contents were different; if I had clicked (which I did not! Finally, all of the replies but one had two pornographic or semi-pornographic photos attached to them.