ScamTracker: Watching thieves, scam artists and online ripoffs

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Dec '12 Just Another Russian Remail Scam?

It’s the time of year when the Russian remailers really ramp up their efforts. Retailers are busy with holiday orders and less experienced sellers are not likely to catch well-crafted fraudulent orders. But the game is still the same:

Fake web sites are set up to make the scammers appear to be legitimate companies. Then they find unwitting people on employment sites like or and sign them up (contract and all!) as remailers. Packages arrive at these people’s homes and they remail them to addresses in Russia. They are paid $40 per package via PayPal. Russian remail scam site?

The only problem is that the packages are all items purchased with stolen credit cards.

One recent investigation by found that the remailers were being “hired” by a company called Their web site log in page is all you can see, but the remailers would log in and enter the tracking information for their packages there. Hopefully this site will be down soon, but there are many others just like it. This is an old scam that works well enough for them to continue setting them up.

May '12


Sorry for the downtime. It seems one of the scammers we posted about didn’t like seeing his name. The good part is, we know who it was and are working on a full post on him and this incident. No worries, even if he does it again we’ll keep coming back. Stay tuned for more….

Oct '11

Credit Card Fraudster Posts Video on YouTube

In another entry for the not-so-bright criminal hall of fame, a college student in Chile has uploaded a video of himself to YouTube using and showing off items purchased online with stolen credit cards.

cristian kohler martinez

His name is Cristian Kohler Martinez and he was a student at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María in Bio Bio, Chile. This dense fraudster used his university email address on the orders, his real home address and his real name. His email address, also links to his FaceBook page and YouTube account. Brilliant move.

But it gets even better. On his YouTube account, he had uploaded videos showcasing items purchased with stolen credit cards. Included in the background of the video is a clear shot of a rewards card imprinted with his real name. Upon being notified of his stupidity, he promptly took down the videos, but it was too late. We already had copies acquired to us by an irate retailer.

We hope this chubby fraudster will email us and explain to us what the hell he was thinking when he made these videos and put them on YouTube. We’re guessing he just isn’t all that bright. We also hope he explains what he was thinking when he got that shirt and much of his wardrobe seen on his Facebook page. Seems like criminals just don’t know how to dress themselves very well these days. But I digress…

Here are some of the gadgets he shows off, including headphones, a radio controlled car, an iPod Touch, iPhone, keyboard and gaming mouse. Some of these have been verified by the vendors who shipped them as having been purchased with stolen credit cards.

Oct '11

How to Stop PA-SPAM! (That’s Particularly Annoying SPAM)

We all have the problem of SPAM. Every day it seems like there is more and more of it in the inbox. Every time a new spam blocker comes out the spammers find ways to get around it. They’re creative, I will give them that much. But creative doesn’t ease the headache, so we have to be creative too. When you get an unusually annoying spammer – one that sends you dozens of emails each day for the same site – I have found a method that helps end it. It’s easy and it only takes about 5 minutes.

For example, recently I started receiving tons of messages every day marketing I’ll refrain from commenting on the site for now in order to save on time, suffice to say there is plenty of negative information out there already if you Google them.

OK, so the SPAM email comes from a throwaway 3rd party address, in this case it’s the name “Overstocked Auctions” from and links on the email go to various URLs at and Unsubscribing never seems to work, sometimes I think that only reinforces to the spammers that your email address is actually working. The spammer is out to make money, either by directly marketing his own site or by marketing sites which offer affiliate programs. (Sometimes site owners send out spam and then claim it’s being done by their affiliates without their knowledge…plausible deniability. Either way, this works.)

What I do is:

1. Look up the company benefitting from the SPAM. Go to and do a trace route and a whois on the company benefitting from the spam.

2. Make note of any contact emails for the company. They will generally be on their web site or in the whois information.

3. Make note of the name of the last network on the trace route before their domain. This is their host or upstream provider. In the case of, you will see that their host is a company called liquid traceroute

4. Now that you know their host, go to their website and find out the email address for their abuse department. Usually it’s abuse@ whatever domain. If you can’t find it, call their support department and ask. If they are even a little bit legitimate, they’ll tell you.

5. Finally, go to your email client and set up a rule. What you want this rule to do is for any email spamming this site, forward it to all those email addresses you just collected. I always put in a condition to not forward emails from the host domain. You don’t want to forward back emails the host might send you acknowledging your complaint. If you have a Mac, the setup will look like this:

email rule

Now every time they spam you, it automatically sends the spam to their host, upstream provider, owner, tech contact…whatever email address you could find. In general, this seems to get me removed from the spam list within a few days. I set this one up today for after trying their unsubscribe links without success. Let’s see how long it takes them to stop emailing me.

Dec '09

Online Retailers See Increase in Credit Card Fraud Attempts

As the holiday season gets into gear, online retailers are seeing an increase in credit card fraud attempts. Our sources tell us the orders use real names and credit card information, but attempt to ship to alternate addresses. At this time of year with many people sending gifts to other addresses, orders like these are more likely to slip through the cracks at some retailers.For the most part, the recipients aren’t the fraudsters, they are merely dupes and remailers who then ship the packages out of the country. Some throw-away emails being used recently at, and others (all of whom caught the scam and did not ship product) were as follows:


If you are an online retailer and you have orders from any of these email addresses, beware. You’ll likely be targeted for more than one order under different names.The real question retails we talk to have is this: why won’t Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress, the FBI, or local police do anything about this? Reports to the authorities go largely unanswered and the card companies just cancel the card but don’t notify other retailers who may have approvals on the same card.

Aug '09

DirecTV Charges to Use Their Automated Phone System!?

If you have DirecTV and you want to call them to order a pay-per-view movie, you would think they would be grateful for the business. Not so! In addition to the cost of the movie, DirecTV charges you $1.50 to use their automated phone system. You read that correctly, there is a fee to talk to a machine!

Don’t worry, you can still talk to a live human…that’s $5.

Jul '09

Is iJango a scam? Somebody certainly doesn’t want you to think so.

A lot of people in the webmaster/MLM community are laughing off iJango as a certain failure at best and a scam at worst. iJango, not surprisingly, is touting itself as the best thing since sliced bread. The odd thing about this launch is not the obvious “buy in now, get rich quick” hype. Instead, it’s the fact that somebody has taken a lot of effort to make sure any references to the company as being a scam do not bear any fruit. Instead, you will get loads of Google results loaded for the keywords “iJango scam” which are marketing pages.

Why would a legitimate company worry so much about people searching for them being a scam before they have even launched? It’s odd.

One web site broke through all the spam and found some dirt on the company. ClickSniper calls iJango a scam and their pitchman a con man! There is some very interesting information there. well worth a read, especially since somebody involved with iJango doesn’t want you to see it.

Jul '09

Hampton Toyota Employees Get Caught Stealing on Video

We all have had our sunglasses or the spare change disappear from our cars when we bring it to the car wash or for an oil change. This guy Jason decided he was tired of it happening at his local Toyota dealer and he set up a small camera to record everything the service employees did with his truck. the results were stunning.

Not only did they steal his change, but they also watched porn movies and inspected the emergency drug container on his keychain. And it wasn’t just the low level employees doing the dirty deeds. The service manager was one of the worst offenders.

Jason sent his video to the dealership and three employees – including the service manager – were reportedly fired. We love this kind of story. Hopefully more consumers will start to make sure they get the service they pay for this way!

Read the full story at The Consumerist. Well done Jason!

Feb '09

Cash4Gold Getting (Unsurprisingly) Bad Press

From the first time we heard the ads, we figured was probably not the best idea for consumers. Now a flurry of negative press on the company confirms what we – and probably most other sane people – thought. Cash4Gold isn’t paying out what your gold is worth, and that’s putting it kindly. Read for yourself about the Cash4Gold scam from customers and former employees here:

Cash4Gold complaints

Cash4Gold employee spills the dirt

Cash4Gold scam uncovered

As always, buyer…er, seller beware!

Nov '08

Smash and Grab Burglar Sought

A $500 reward is being offered by our friends at RC Boca Hobbies for information leading to the arrest of the burglar in this video. The burglary took place just after midnight on November 2, 2008.