Anatomy of an internet scam

I recently put this ad on kijiji to sell my piano:

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Within a few hours, I received this response (gray: him; green: me)

Untitled drawing

I realize by now that this guy is a scammer, but I wanted to see how far he was going to go, so I kept up the convo.

Untitled drawing copy

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In my email, I get this message from “PayPal” which looks pretty official, right?


So basically, the scam is this: If I want my money for the piano, I need to send the “Transport Company” $650.

I sent the scammer this reply:
Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 11.56.30 AM

And that was the last I heard from him. But it makes me wonder how many people fall for these scams. To me, they seem so obvious, but perhaps to others (more gullible, weak English skills, less knowledgeable about internet scams), not so much.

Have you ever been victimized by an internet scam or do you know anyone who has? I have been following with much interest (and horror) to Alec Couros‘ struggles with a Facebook romance scammer who uses his images and Alec is doing a fantastic job trying to educate the public about his plight. Are social media companies and the media doing enough to publicize this issue? What are your thoughts?