Here's an old post from way back in 2010. I had just recently joined Facebook and started getting instant messages from someone, whose profile looked like a friend of mine, but who was actually a scammer. This is my account and an actual transcript of our exchange.

So apparently there's a new scam on Facebook that I wanted to make my friends aware of. People are cloning the information from your friend's profiles and creating new FB users from them. (This is particularly problematic when people leave a lot of their profile info accessible to everyone. Makes them easy to impersonate.) Then these cloned users send you a friend request. This happened to me recently where one of my friends showed up with a new friend request. Sometimes people silently de-friend you and then add you back so I didn't think anything about it. But this particular friend is one of those people I knew in the past and whom I don't really ever talk to.  So I was surprised this morning when a chat window popped up and what looked like my old friend Mike showed up to tell me about a really awesome investment.

It was pretty quickly apparent that some scam was afoot, so I decided to play around with whoever this person was. Here is the chat session that ensued. Editorial comments are in brackets.

Mike: Hello

Me: Hi Mike

Mike: good morning to you

Me: To you as well

Mike: how was your night??

Mike: how was your night?

Me: Mike? [How was my night? Very very strange question to start out with someone I haven't spoken with in a few years. At this point I sort of figured something was up so I asked a question that the real Mike would know the answer to. The rest of the conversation follows.]

Mike: really great have you invested on the treasure hunt in standard bank SC?

Me: What's the frequency Kenneth? [Starting to mess with him - This is what the guy asked Dan Rather years ago right before Dan Rather was mugged - trying to figure out if I'm talking to a bot]

Mike: just like a fixed deposit but you will be receiving the 10% of you amount every week like me i invested on $30,000 and an interest of $3000 every week

[I sort of suspect he's not American and may not know the cultural nuances, so I ask him another random question that tests this thesis.]

Me: Wow. Sounds great, did Mario from Donkey Kong invest?

Mike: don't know if he invest and my wife invest on $20,000 and her intrest will be $2000 every week

[Bingo! This guy doesn't get cultural references. So I'll play the idiot and see if he can tell]

Me: Where do I invest to get this tremendous interest rate?

Mike: standard bankSC

Me: South Carolina?

Mike: you will E-mail their manager

[Might as well pretend to be an idiot about the internet too.]

Me: yes. Wow. That's awesome. But how do I send money over e-mail? My e-mail only let's me send attachments.

Mike: you will talk to him and he will send you the information to send the money

[My grandfather liked Gunsmoke, so I decide to add a little gratuitous Gunsmoke reference to the conversation]

Me: Do you know if Matt Dillon invested?

Mike: you don't have a yahoomail?

Me: I have email.

[While this chat session is going on, I set up a new, bogus e-mail on yahoo to mess with these guys]

Mike: i just invest last Monday and and they send me an e-mail that my account have been increase in $3000

Me: Do you know if Matt Dillon invested?

Mike: i don't know i just got on here to tell you people how much will you invest?

[Might as well go all in]

Me: I haven't decided yet. Should I sell all my stocks and invest everything in this bank?

Mike: ok do you see his E-mail i sent you?

[I intentionally get the e-mail address wrong]

Me: yes -

Mike: nope

Me: ?


[Now see if I can make him mad]

Me: Oh - ok. Does Patrick have an e-mail address?

Mike: yes

[Might as well introduce some random noise in the conversation]

Me: Can he receive attachments?

Mike: may be

Me: Oh good. I always like to send attachments with my e-mails.

Mike: he will ask you some questions so you will need to e-mail him

Me: I hope they don't have anything to do with complicated finances, because I'm not very good at math.

Mike: oh nope

Me: whew

Mike: or do you talk on yahoo messenger? he can talk to you through there

[Make him think I don't know anything about yahoo messenger]

Me: I don't use messengers when I send e-mail, I just let the internet deliver it.

Mike: ok

Me: Where can you find messengers?

Mike: make sure you E-mail him this morning so he can send you the form you will have to fill

[Wonder if he gets sarcasm?]

Me: That will be great - I love filling out forms.

Mike: will you E-mail him now?

[Want to see what he does if we get into something specific.]

Me: Yes. In just a minute. I have to get a cup of coffee first. Did you get the package I sent you last week?

Mike: cause it's only on monday people have the opportunity to invest

Me: Is it every Monday or just today?

Mike: oh yes thanks it's every monday but i don't know when it will stop

Me: How much money am I allowed to invest?

Mike: that is why i said you should make sure you invest today no amount is too much you will receive your interest as much as you invest

Me: So it would be okay to send a lot of money?

Mike: that is why i ask you how much do you want to invest so i will tell you your intrest oh sure

Me: What if I sent $200,000?

Mike: E-mail him and tell him right now are you writting him an E-mail?

Me: Working on it.

Mike: ?

[So I got my yahoo account set up and sent an e-mail. These guys are apparently handling multiple of these sessions at once and they have a hard time filtering the e-mails and responding.  So it takes a while. I decide to pretend like I'm personally offended at how long they're taking.]

Me: I sent him an e-mail.

Mike: ok

Me: I sent a message but he hasn't written me back. It kind of hurts my feelings.

Mike: have you sent him a message?

Me: yes

Mike: you said you have a yahoomail right?

Me: yes

Mike: and you sent him a message right now?

Me: A few minutes ago. He seems to be ignoring me. Maybe he's taken in as much money as he can handle.

Mike: oh nope he wasn't like that ok i can help you to talk to him and i will send you the form that i filled maybe he is bussy

[I'll mess with him about his typo]

Me: Do you mean he might be riding the bus?

Mike: oh nope he will be in the bank by now

Me: Well apparently, he's NOT checking his e-mail.

Mike: are you sure is going through?

Me: It shows in my sent items folder. So it says it's going through.

Mike: if he doesn't reply you can send it to his secretary

Me: Wow, he has a secretary? He must be really important.

Mike: sure that's his secretary E-mail you can talk to her too

Me: Ok - I just forwarded her the e-mail.

Mike: do you get her E-mail?

Me: Still no response. I think they may be rude bankers.

Mike: oh nope is the bank that is incharge  bank own the treasure hunt themself not them he is just the manager incharge

Me: Well - I keep sending messages and they never write back. It hurts my feelings.

Mike: you will have to be patient cause they will ask you some question

[At this point, I started getting messages from them on my bogus yahoo account]

Me: Ok. I seem to be getting messages from them now. She didn't seem too rude over e-mail. Perhaps she was just cranky before.

Mike: i told you  - are you there?

Me: yes I was brushing my teeth. Which kind of toothpaste do you use?

Mike: lol did the manager ask you some questions?

Me: What's so funny? The manager asked me what I wanted to invest, so I told him his secretary had that information.

[Now he's gone missing.]

Keith: Do you have a picture of the bank?

Mike: nope don't you know standard bank?

Me: That's a bummer. No

Mike: standard bank south carolina are you there?

Me: Mike - I have to tell you that you've wasted a lot of my time this morning. The bank people are not doing ANYTHING to help me invest and I'm not going to be your friend anymore. I was going to invest a lot of money, but not now.

Mike: why are you upset

Me: Yes, those people are rudely ignoring my requests and making me wait. I have to go to work now.

Mike: maybe the network is bad have you talk to the manager himself?

Me: Yes - but he is completely ignoring me and it hurts my feelings and I have to go to work so now I've lost the opportunity.

Mike: no he can never ignore you

Me: Well - I'm going to work now. Maybe I'll invest next Monday.

Mike: this is a lifetime opportunity you can afford to loose it

[Messing with him about his typos again.]

Me: I can?

Mike: make sure you check your mail cause he can be sending you messages but not going through but he is not that rude

Me: I'll check it later today but I have to go now.

Mike: he is very responsible

At this point I wound things down. I'll post further updates if I hear anything else from the manager of Standard Bank of South Carolina.  In the mean time, if you get new friend requests from people who are already your friends, beware.

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