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Scamming the Scammer
The Computer Corner

January 14, 2024

by Charles Miller

The last couple of weeks a lot of my creative writing efforts have been redirected to emails. I never play computer games, but I do play on my computer with the scumbags who email me scams.

The last game started with an email allegedly from a friend writing "I need a favor. Can you help?" I noticed my friends email was a fake, with a number 1 substituted for a letter L. So to the fake email I responded back "Sure! What's up?"

Taking the bait, the scammer then laid out that his niece Jane was in the hospital being treated for prostate cancer and he wanted to send her an Amazon gift card for $500 but was traveling and could not access his account and could I send her the gift. So I responded "Sure. You can send me the $500 via PayPal." Of course, he answers back he will pay me next week and I said "Ok."

A few hours pass and the scammer emails me asking why I have not sent the gift card to his niece yet. I told him I just checked PayPal and had not received his $500. He said he would pay me back later, and I said "Okay" then did nothing. Over several days this merry-go-round went round and around with me suggesting he could send me $500 by Western Union then by Zelle then using Bitcoin.

Then I told my fake friend that I had seen his next-door neighbor who was so sorry to hear about the niece Jane being hospitalized, and he had matched the gift with $500 of his own and had given me the cash. Then later I related how that encouraged another neighbor to do the same and the two of them pressured me to do likewise. Then I wrote to poor little Jane in the hospital (knowing full well it was the scammer to whom I was writing) telling her that her generous uncle and his friends would soon be sending her a gift card for $2,000 as soon as her uncle sent his part.

The frustrated scammer now pretending to be Jane wrote back thanking me and the others for our generosity and reminding me that her uncle was traveling overseas. The scammer also wrote as himself asking it I could just go ahead and send the $1,500 now. I responded how I had already told little Jane she would be receiving $2,000 and sending only $1,500 would be confusing, or worse she might think her uncle was some kind of sleazebag for not sending his $500.

The next few days had me exchanging emails with the scammer, the scammer pretending to be Jane, then the scammer now pretending to be Jane's mother saying that poor Jane seemed to be taking a turn for the worse and that $2,000 would help with her medical expenses. Each time the scammer pretending to be Jane or her mother wrote, I answered back to the first scammer urging him to send me his $500 so I could put it together with the $1,500 cash I already had sitting on my desk then get the whole $2,000 to poor little Jane.

Having invested so much time, and lured by that $1,500, the scammer just did not want to give up; but he made one mistake. For only the third time in all my years I was ddealing with a scammer so stupid as to click on the link I sent in my email. Through that link I was able to get the scammer's actual IP address and its approximate geographic location. In one of my last emails I urged the scammer to send me his $500 via Moneygram, and included a Google Maps link to a nearby travel agency that could handle the transfer of funds… located at 27 Chawl No 6 V B Nagar Kurla in Mumbai, India.

Receiving my email with the map showing his whereabouts is what prompted the scammer to stop playing my game. Even though I wrote again saying I hoped my friend was enjoying his vacation travels in India, I never heard from that scammer, his niece, or her mother again.


Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant with decades of IT experience and a Texan with a lifetime love for Mexico. The opinions expressed are his own. He may be contacted at 415-101-8528 or email FAQ8 (at)


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