In my experience, which does not include losing thousands of dollars like other MTs around the U.S. but right up to that “point of no return,” the following email has not the scent of an Italian model, but rather that of a rat.
I have 8 unique attempts at fraud in my file – unique in their origin, but very common in their M.O. The following email is another attempt. Some key elements of this type of email fraud that I’ve found evident in every fraudulent email are:
- Non-Domestic – best characterized by the email domain that is not .com, .net, .us, .biz, .info, .org, .gov (or other “dot” that you recognize more often), and also characterized by the broken English writing & unofficial “official” statements [like the “confidentiality” statement at the end of this email],
- Model – the model him/herself or their agent (friend, manager, travel agent) is not necessarily a model, but is someone travelling from abroad to Nevada,
- “U.S.” is where they are traveling to – a specific address is never stated as to where they will be staying so you can go to them to do your massage, and they most likely will agree to come to you,
- Referral – they will mention that they got your name from someone else that knows of you, but your name will never be used in the email (unless you give it to them),
- Introduction & Correspondence emails are different – the introduction email is a template filled in with basic information they have about the state you’re in; the city and your name remain unknown and unacknowledged by the writer (unless you give it to them).
Here’s the Email:From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 1:04 PM
Subject: Massage Inquiry Hello,
How are you today? My name is Mrs Marcella Fedelle, i live and work here in italy, i am 36yrs old. I have been doing massage since 1989. I do a deep relaxation massage in which the muscles relax without pain, I also do energy massage that helps people feel great when I am done. I am certified to do pregnancy massage .I have lots of happy clients here in italy , I have a client Miss Alessandra Amato A Model here in italy ,She will be coming to the U.S in three weeks time for a modeling job and she will be residing in Nevada temporarily until the neccesary arrangement for her job has been made before she leaves,she will be needing massage therapy 1hr session three times a week for one month Miss Amato asked me to come with her to the US but i told her i would not be able to go with her to the US as i have a course i will be going for in a week time and the course will last for three months.So i promised to help her get a good practitioner in your Area. I have been looking for a massage therapist for over two weeks till i met an old friend Mrs Jessica Claire at the Cosmetic Surgery And Beauty Conference that was held over the weekend in Milano. I spoke with her about my client and was referred to you. She gave me your referral. Pls tell me a little more about yourself,how long have you been a massage therapist?and would you be able to provide her massage therapy? I will also need you to get back to me with the amount you charge per session and also let me know if she can pay you via Us Certified Cashiers Check Pls send your reply to my personal email address ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) because i do check it frequently. Thank you very much and do have a nice day.. Marcella Fedelle
Via Cusani, 26 20123 Milano ,
Italy ———————————–CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE:——————————————————The information contained in this email is privileged and confidential, and is intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any disclosure,copying,distribution, electronic storage or use of this communication is prohibited. If you receive this communication in error, please notify us immediately by email, attaching the original message, and delete the original message from your computer and any network to which your Telefona e naviga senza limiti con Tiscali Voce 8 Mega a soli € 15 al mese per i primi 12 mesi. In seguito paghi € 29,90 al mese. Attiva entro il 6/11/08! _______________________________________________________________
The idea and the M.O. is for you to agree to perform a series of massages, “costing” them $500+, usually in the thousands. You will give them a bill prior to meeting them, and they agree to send you a certified or cashier’s check. You get the check, never performing the services, and they ask you to deposit it, because… due to the mistaken travel arrangements with the agent, you’ve been overpaid through the check that has been cut and it on its way to you. They want you to deposit the check and send the difference to someone else. To incent you, you can keep a couple hundred “extra” (in addition to your bill) for your trouble.
Unfortunately, the official-looking check you deposited 30 days ago will be returned to your bank and you will owe the bank the amount of money for which the fraudulent check was written. You will have written a “good” check and mailed it to the travel agent for the thousands in difference on the “official” check, that same check will have cleared your account, and you will have never seen your “client” because they postponed their trip. You will probably never get to do your massage with them.
- “no, thank you.”
- “I’m sorry: I don’t take checks.”
- “I’m sorry: I don’t take checks from people I’ve just met and/or that don’t have a NV ID/DL.”
To read more about this method of email fraud, visit Wikipedia’s page that describes this and most types of fraud: Advanced Fee Fraud
To understand what the Federal Trade Commission is doing about email scams or to report an attempt, please visit their website.