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Thread: Scamming The Scammer

  1. #1
    The Ceej's Avatar
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    Default Scamming The Scammer

    I don't know if you've ever heard of a little loan shark in the southeast US called Republic Finance. They're one of many scammers who send out fake cheques that are really loans. You can tell they're loans, because, where you endorse it, is a little bit of legal mumbo jumbo stating that endorsement of this cheque constitutes agreement to the attached terms and conditions, which are rather predatory, so if you think your financial situation is bad now, just cash this fake cheque and see how bad it can get.

    As a result, I and everyone else I know just generally throw these in the rubbish...
    Until today!

    I got this really great idea to get free money and put a scammer out of business at the same time!
    ScammingTheScammer.jpg
    You see what I did? I used the same basic premise they did of using the completion of a financial transaction to constitute agreement to the terms and conditions. It's perfectly legal, and just as unconscionable (that's a legal term, look it up) as it was before, only now the tables have been turned.

    Now, by honouring this cheque, they will be agreeing that it is a gift, not a loan. And the best part is, you can do this too! That's why I'm telling you. Because this is a win/win situation and perfectly legal. We can put these fake cheque scammers out of business and get free money AT THE SAME TIME!! Everybody wins two ways here! There are no losers.

    So, the next time you get one of these fake cheque scams in the post, don't throw it out. Change the terms and conditions and then cash it.


  2. #2
    The Ceej's Avatar
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    So, let me simplify why this works, from a legal standpoint:

    Let's say you write a contract and give to me to sign. Now, I take it home, but I don't like the terms, so I rewrite it, sign it, and bring it back to you. If you're smart, you'll reread the contract just to make sure it's the same contract. But, if you're this scammer, you're probably not smart, so you'll just go ahead and sign it, and assume I'm bound by your terms, when the reverse is actually true. In fact, you likely won't even notice you screwed yourself until you're considering taking me to court.

    So, basically that's what's going on here, except instead of using our signatures to constitute agreement to the contract, we're using the completion of a financial transaction.

    That's mostly why they're not even reading the contract. They lacked the foresight to think anyone even might be clever enough to change the terms of the contract before cashing the cheque (as it's just so obvious it went over all our heads), so they will not even look at the cheque before instructing the bank to hand over the cash. And there's the brilliance. It's so simple, we should all be slapping ourselves for not thinking of it first, except for me, who should be slapping myself for not thinking of it sooner.


  3. #3
    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    Moves and counter-moves.

    What happens when the scammer does have the insight to know exactly what you're doing? How could they one up you?

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    The Ceej's Avatar
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    Well, they could instruct the bank not to honour the cheque, and remove the pending balance from my account. That's pretty much all they could do, but that requires that they look at the new terms BEFORE making that call, and I don't see them having the foresight to do that.


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    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    But what if they did? What if by one upping the scammer it makes them a stronger scammer? What if they made legal documents so well thought out you couldn't tell if it was legitimate or a scam? That by making them rethink their entire approach their efficiently vastly improves? What if next time you don't know it's a scam at all until it's too late?

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    The Ceej's Avatar
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    If they did, you would want to actually have the money in your account, so your balance doesn't go negative when the pending balance is removed and returned to the issuing party. Fun Fact: When you cash a cheque, you're only given the money on a pending basis. If the cheque is stopped, or if it bounces, the money will be removed from your account. This doesn't come up often because the vast majority of cheques clear so, unless there's some sort of high risk involved (and there might be with this one), you get access to the pending balance immediately.

    So my advice is, if you choose to do this, leave the money in your account until the transaction clears, just in case they figure out what's going on and choose not to honour the cheque. Also, you might want to consult with a lawyer, if you're unfamiliar with contract law, to determine exactly how to write the new contract.

    Scamming scammers is quite dangerous, in fact. A lot of people think they can do it and fail, because it requires a full understanding of how the scam works and, in the case of legal scams like this one, a full understanding of what makes it legal.

    I would generalise advise against trying to scam scammers, as they're generally pretty good at what they do. If you do plan on doing it, make sure to think your plan through. It's good you're asking questions.

    What if you don't know if it's a scam until it's too late? Then it sucks to be you. Learn from that mistake so you don't fall for it again. We've all been there, especially when we're younger and don't yet realise how evil people can be.

    What if you don't know whether it's a scam or not? Then don't do anything at all unless and until you determine that. Why take unnecessary risks?


  7. #7
    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    End the vicious cycle by doing nothing? Learn when to walk away and do it. Abandon its power it holds over you. Is that what you're trying to tell me?

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    The Ceej's Avatar
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    Not exactly. Develop an accurate risk/benefit analysis that you use to make decisions better. It's something most people never do because humans are notoriously bad at risk/benefit analysis.

    So, how do you get better? Well... At the risk of taking this thread too far off topic, learn the scientific method and try to understand your own thoughts and feelings, strengths and weaknesses, and observe the world around you. Learn from your own mistakes and the mistakes of others, hopefully as objectively as a single human can.


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    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    Then the next questions that come are what are thoughts? What are feelings? What are strengths and weaknesses? Do these things exist in a vacuum, and if so how do we break the vacuum? What if the meaning of words are only what we make them? What if we can change these things into anything we want? Like clay. What if existence is just one big sandbox without the square limiting it to a single point?

    To keep it more on topic with the thread; how can the scammer and the scam-nee come together to create something new? How could they come together to improve the legal system with what they've learned?

  10. #10
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    Sticking with the on-topic questions... In using the model I've outlined above, we can improve the world by making this scam obsolete. This scam will no longer be cost effective after this solution becomes common knowledge, and the scammers will move onto the next scam...

    The legal system can't really do much to stop scams. There are still just as many illegal scams as legal scams, if not more. The law doesn't really stop them. The only way to stop scams is to make them no longer cost effective. This is typically done through education ("Don't fall for that. It's a scam."), but some of the oldest scams in the book are still going on, so that's not really doing much either.

    Financially crippling the scammers is something I think we should try. A lot of the allure of committing scams is a low risk of loss to make up for the low success rate of most scams. Most people throw these cheques out, but they can make thousands off each person who falls for it, spending mere pennies to send batches of these out. By introducing a new risk that could cost them the face value of the cheque, and then spreading that information, I'm hoping to make this scam obsolete.

    But, I can't do this by myself, so if you have a brain, use it. I wouldn't advise trying to scam the scammer back, but figuring out ways to make scams cost more than they bring in is the solution. If you can come up with a way to scam the scammer that works, that can do this. But, if the idea fails, it could end up screwing you just as badly as falling for the scam, possibly even worse.


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    Actual cannibal Pheesh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ayen View Post
    Then the next questions that come are what are thoughts? What are feelings? What are strengths and weaknesses? Do these things exist in a vacuum, and if so how do we break the vacuum? What if the meaning of words are only what we make them? What if we can change these things into anything we want? Like clay. What if existence is just one big sandbox without the square limiting it to a single point?

    To keep it more on topic with the thread; how can the scammer and the scam-nee come together to create something new? How could they come together to improve the legal system with what they've learned?
    TF are you talking about, dude? :/

  12. #12
    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    We'd have to ask what is cost efficiently. How do we measure it, and how can we manipulate it to remove the primary motivation of the scammer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pheesh View Post
    TF are you talking about, dude? :/
    Not sure yet. It's why I'm asking questions.

  13. #13
    Blood In The Water sharkythesharkdogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ayen View Post
    Then the next questions that come are what are thoughts? What are feelings? What are strengths and weaknesses? Do these things exist in a vacuum, and if so how do we break the vacuum? What if the meaning of words are only what we make them? What if we can change these things into anything we want? Like clay. What if existence is just one big sandbox without the square limiting it to a single point?

    To keep it more on topic with the thread; how can the scammer and the scam-nee come together to create something new? How could they come together to improve the legal system with what they've learned?
    It's not too surprising to get all existential in the Perfect God conundrum thread, but talking about the confines of spoken language or other aspects of existence in a thread about check scammers seems to me.......silly at best.

    Next you're going to go into the Coke vs. Pepsi thread and ask, "But what IS drinking? What IS choosing?"

    and I will chuckle at watered down philoso-babble.

    At least it makes me smile. Have fun with it.

  14. #14

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    So wait, did you actually cash the check? I have to be honest, the level of magical legal phrases is setting off my sovereign citizen alarms something fierce.

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    Sure thing P Barnes

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