Blog Post Scam

PSA: Look at this Dumb Email Scam that I Almost Fell For

This is embarrassing, but I nearly fell for this scam.  I don’t know how I came so close – I know about this specific email impersonation tactic, and I still failed to pay attention.  Luckily I figured it out just in time.  In case it saves anyone else from fraud, please see my nearly-costly error below.

The first email below is the one I sent to other members of our firm warning them about what happened.  Below that are my emails with the scammer.  (Just to be clear, the bank account information below is not the information of anyone at my firm, it’s the bank account information that the scammer provided.)

Today we sent a letter to the banks where both of the scammer’s accounts were located and to the FBI’s “Internet Crime Complaint Center” in hopes of slowing the scammer down at least a little.

Be safe!

Jeb Butler


From: Jeb Butler
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 6:42 PM
To: BLF <XXXX@butlerfirm.com>
Subject: This Is Embarrassing — I Almost Fell for this Scam

Team, I almost just fell for a very stupid scam.  If the scammer had set up his bank account correctly, I would have fallen for this.  Even after the bank account information that the scammer provided didn’t work, if the scammer had used better English and had actually written in the way that Graham might have, I still would have fallen for it.

Basically, a scammer set up an email address to show his name as “Graham Roberts,” then sent me an email asking me to change “his” direct deposit information with our payroll company to a different bank account.  Obviously, the scammer was trying to get me to have our payroll company deposit money into his own bank account instead of Graham’s.  Inexplicably, I tried to make the change.  When Gusto rejected the bank account, I tried again.  Then I wrote back to the scammer that it hadn’t worked and sent him a screenshot from Gusto.  Only when the scammer replied using weird, un-Graham-like language did I figure out what was happening.

This is really embarrassing because I’ve seen this trick before.  I have advised others to watch out for it.  I have written about it in the Daily Report.  I guess I was distracted and trying to do something else, but there is no excuse for my carelessness.  If this scammer had just been reasonably intelligent, I would be sending Graham’s money to his account.

This was really close.  Read below, from the bottom up.

Errors I made:

  1. An email asking me to switch the destination of outgoing money should have prompted me to call Graham to make sure he was really the one sending me the email.
  2. These emails came from “esq@disroot.org,” and whatever the hell that is, it isn’t Graham’s email address.
  3. This person does not write like Graham does.
  4. Graham doesn’t sign his emails to me with his full name.
  5. The first email in the string already had “Re:” in the subject line.
  6. I doubt Graham would send all of his bank account information over email.

Yall, in sum, I was dumb today and just barely got away with it.

Now, maybe we can have some fun with this.  I just wrote back to the scammer that I was heading out but would make the change in the morning (att’d).  Anybody have fun ideas for F’ing with him?


Jeb Butler

Butler Law Firm

10 Lenox Pointe

Atlanta, GA 30324

Telephone: 678 940 1444

Facsimile:   678 306 4646

jeb@butlerfirm.com

The information contained in this email may be confidential and privileged.  This email is intended only for the person it is addressed to within the body of the email—do not copy or distribute it to anyone else without express permission.  If this email is not intended for you, please immediately notify us by phone or reply email and delete this message.  Unless you have signed a written fee agreement with our firm, we do not represent you as your attorney.

From: Graham Roberts <esq@disroot.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 6:22 PM
To: Jeb Butler <jeb@butlerfirm.com>
Subject: Re: Changes in DD Details

Oh! I’m sorry for that. Let me make use of my second checking account.

Green Dot Bank.

Account number: 496463091604

Routing number: 124303120

Account Type: Checking

Net Pay: 100%

Please get back to me once the change is made.

Thanks
Graham Roberts

February 25, 2021 7:16 AM, “Jeb Butler” <jeb@butlerfirm.com> wrote:

This is what I get when I try to make the change:


Jeb Butler

Butler Law Firm

10 Lenox Pointe

Atlanta, GA 30324

Telephone: 678 940 1444

Facsimile: 678 306 4646

jeb@butlerfirm.com

The information contained in this email may be confidential and privileged. This email is intended only for the person it is addressed to within the body of the email—do not copy or distribute it to anyone else without express permission. If this email is not intended for you, please immediately notify us by phone or reply email and delete this message. Unless you have signed a written fee agreement with our firm, we do not represent you as your attorney.

From: Graham Roberts <esq@disroot.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 5:48 PM
To: Jeb Butler <jeb@butlerfirm.com>
Subject: Re: Changes in DD Details

Ok! Here’s my new account details.

American Express National Bank

Account number: 6220147713026

Routing number: 124071889

Account Type: Checking

Net Pay: 100%

Please get back to me once the change is made.

Thanks

Graham Roberts

February 25, 2021 6:44 AM, “Jeb Butler” <jeb@butlerfirm.com> wrote:

yep


Jeb Butler

Butler Law Firm

10 Lenox Pointe

Atlanta, GA 30324

Telephone: 678 940 1444

Facsimile: 678 306 4646

jeb@butlerfirm.com

The information contained in this email may be confidential and privileged. This email is intended only for the person it is addressed to within the body of the email—do not copy or distribute it to anyone else without express permission. If this email is not intended for you, please immediately notify us by phone or reply email and delete this message. Unless you have signed a written fee agreement with our firm, we do not represent you as your attorney.

From: Graham Roberts <esq@disroot.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 5:44 PM
To: Jeb Butler <jeb@butlerfirm.com>
Subject: RE: Changes in DD Details

Hi Jeb ,

I changed my bank and I’ll like to change my Direct Deposit details, Can I email you the new banking information to make the change for me right away?

Thanks
Graham Roberts