What Happens When You Reply to Scam Emails?

This was a fun little project I have been dying to do! Awhile ago I watched a Ted Talk video where James Veitch decided one day to respond to one of the many scam emails he gets in a day. The beauty of this experiment is that really anyone can do it and it’s loads of fun. Basically, all you have to do is set up a fake email account and respond to scam emails. The type of emails that usually say something like “The prince of Nigeria has died and you are the only beneficiary…” and typically every other word is misspelled. I also believe 60 minutes or dateline did a segment where they actually tracked down one of these scammers and that was really interesting because you realize that these are actual people. Anyway, today I set up a fake email account and waited for the perfect scam email to appear in my inbox, which didn’t take long.

So let’s find out what actually happens when you respond to one of these scam emails. Today I set up a fake email account (Laveya Champlin) and waited for the perfect scam email to appear in my inbox, which didn’t take long. 

When I saw this email I just had to respond, solely because the subject is ” FROM MONEYGRAM WESTERN UNION OFFICE FBI!!!” It’s like they tried to shove as many important titles into the subjects as possible. So someone will think “Oh no I use western union all the time and now the office FBI is emailing me!!” Also in the second paragraph where is says “… a meeting was held between the Board of Directors of  WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM, the FBI alongside the Ministry of Finance…” because I would have taken this a lot more seriously if it said “the Ministry of Magic.”

So anyway I responded as concern citizen would and said…

Then they responded with…

This honestly looks a lot more official than I thought it would. In all seriousness, this is the part of the email where they try and get all of your personal information so they can actually scam you. Naturally, I took this very seriously because I wanted to cooperate fully since the FBI was involved and I wanted to get $250,000. So I responded with my information as they requested. I mean in the first paragraph they said:  “also to let you know this is not a scam, this is very true and legit” so it’s obviously not a scam.

I thought I was pretty generous, I mean I didn’t just include my driver’s license ID, I scanned and sent them my whole driver’s license. I also included my plans of travel to make it a little more personal. Honestly, I didn’t think I would get a response. I thought that this was going to be the final victory email, but I was wrong.

Thankfully, my very realist information kept the scam going and I was in. They even provided me with a nice photoshopped master card with my fake name on it, how thoughtful. When I saw this card, I got excited and thought that I was close to getting my well deserved $250,000. So I shared my excitement and told them how I was going to use the card for online purposes.

Club Penguin is my passion ok and it’s being taken down soon …I gotta go all out. I knew I had to be getting close to the end but Vickie had a trick up her sleeve.

This is the actual scam part of the scam. For whatever reason, I am going to get $250,000 but to get it I have to pay to get it. My favorite part about this is the disclaimer at the bottom that is literally just rubbish. I wasn’t sure how to respond here because I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, so I just said…


I have not gotten a response back so this is the victory email!

The whole reason I really wanted to do this is because believe it or not people fall for this type of thing all the time and if I can waste the scammers time it means that maybe they were so wrapped up in me one person might be saved from receiving this email and falling for it. Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it was fun messing with these scammers.

More to come!!

If you have a scam email you want me to respond to forward them to