Customer List Scams

This type of scam is another in the series of scams that primarily target businesses, but may also hook members of non-profit groups and others.

The scam assumes that you want contact information about types of consumers so you can contact them and grow your business. In this particular example, the scammer is offering to “sell” lists containing information on medical and dental patients, and promises to provide their names, addresses, email addresses, websites, fax numbers etc.

There are in fact plenty of companies and organizations (many of which are criminal organizations) who do sell consumer lists, so the offer per se isn’t necessarily fraudulent.

Lists being sold may range from the fairly innocuous practice of reselling customer lists that companies have done for years (think of the magazine subscription you signed up for and then suddenly offers from dozens of other companies started landing in your mail box). Or the lists may fall into the truly despicable category that identifying people with specific illnesses, or have been recently widowed, etc. to allow criminals to customize their scams to exploit these people’s deepest vulnerabilities.

Test Your Skills

You should be able to find at least five red flags that tell you this e-mail is fraudulent. Scroll down to the picture below to see the answers, but try to find them yourself, first. If you find five, you’re a pro with little to worry about. If you find fewer than four, consider practicing on some more of our spam scam examples.

Here are the clues that this is a scam:

  1. The subject line begins with “RE:” which means they are responding to a previous email – and you didn’t send them one. And the email comes from ‘exhumation‘ that ought to be enough to creep you out. The sender’s real email alias is djhwniigtt@a-i-o.com. Now, a-i-o.com is a real marketing company, but they don’t sell consumer lists.
  2. The email is unsolicited and isn’t addressed to you. In this example, the To: line says it is addressed to jtlogbji@tlcciddu.com, which is certainly not one of my email aliases.
  3. The body of the text is unprofessional and illiterate – and you can clearly see how much they’re hoping to scam you for.
  4. They want you to email yet another individual (not company department like ‘procurement’ or ‘inquiries’ and the email address in this case isn’t @a-i-o.com, it’s @easylistbuy.net. A legitimate business does not email you from one company and ask you to respond to another. And, checking out easylistbuy.net in a search engine shows it’s a known spam domain.
  5. To ‘unsubscribe’ you need to email ‘rembrox’. What this really does is verify for the crooks that your email address is in fact legitimate, and sets you up to get a lot more spam scams in the future.

Linda

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