The following is an interview I had with a scammer. He/she contacted me after reading the scammed section on the site, praising PPT, but also wanting to contribute to the compilation of articles in relation to scamming. The main concern, that most of the scams presented on PPT did not know how to spell correctly. This interview however, gives us an insight into why a person may scam. What leads a person to scamming and how some people scam. Whatever you may read this for, this interview holds within itself important information on how not to get scammed.
Q. How long have you been scamming on Neopets?
About one year.
Q. Why did you begin scamming on Neopets? Were you a once-victim or did you fall on it for the sheer thrill of scamming?
I started playing Neopets when it first started. I had a fairly wealthy account and a strong pet.
I was buying some items on the shop wizard one day when I came across a shop with faeries selling for twenty-five Neopoints. My first thought was, “Wow those are cheap!” So I went and mad-clicked. It came to a login page, not thinking I typed my username and password in. And about a minute later my account was taken from me. I logged onto my second account, and checked out my shop. The scammer had placed the fake faeries in it. I reported my own shop, so my items would not be touched. It was frozen within minutes.
I pleaded with Neopets for weeks to give the account back, but they never did. I quit Neopets for a few weeks. I returned to it, and began fiddling around with html. I made a login page, signed up with a mail-form service, found a place that allowed you to make web-pages without those annoying ads, and viewed shop html to see how items were placed on the page. I wanted to try what that person pulled on me. I made an account, and placed a few fake items in a shop, and advertised in the chat room. It worked, I got a load of accounts. About a million Neopoints in under twenty minutes.
I also got a good laugh whenever the person I scammed messaged their stolen account. All of them were furious, ranting and threatening me. I never returned their accounts.
I admit though, there was one person who messaged me, and asked quite nicely to return their account. I gave their account back, items untouched.
Q. Do you think about how upset the people you scam are?
Oh, that’s what I find so amusing. They worked on this little game for so long, spending their life on numbers and data when they could be doing something more fulfilling.
I can’t say I was any better when I did play Neopets, but I wasn’t mad when I lost my account, I just felt really stupid.
If people adore their accounts so much, they should pay attention a little more. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Q. What methods have you successfully used in the past?
I’ve stuck to one. The typical Shop Scam. The ones where people ask for your account and password are a bit too obvious and not something I would do.
The shop scam seems to work. People see a rare item for a low price and they stop thinking and start clicking. If a login page comes up, they enter their information, not bothering to look up at the address bar and see that it’s not neopets.com. And what baffles me is, I don’t steal their accounts right off. I wait about an hour or so, then login. And to my surprise, rarely any of them have changed their password.
Q. Approximately how many people have you scammed?
About Five Hundred.
Q. Is scamming all its cracked up to be? IE is it difficult for you to scam? How much do you make per scam? How much have you scammed in total?
It’s not difficult at all. It takes me about twenty minutes to scam, and maybe another thirty to go through the accounts.
I usually get about five hundred thousand Neopoints and a few rare items. I usually just wind up donating everything. If it’s not worth taking, might as well give what’s in the account to people who want it. Oh, probably around ten million Neopints, and a couple million in items.
Q. If a person was to become a scammer, what advice would you give them?
Don’t bother with the ‘I have a program, send it to such and such address and include you account and password.’ Doesn’t that just sound sketchy?
Try a shop scam, and put decent, but not super-rare items in it. Cheap Codestones, Faeries, and Laboratory Maps usually attract people. But items that are worth over a million going for pennies is a bit suspicious.
Don’t scam more than once a week. The Neopets staff is quite scary, they froze fifty of my accounts all at once one night.
Q. Do you not think of total banning from Neopets?
I’m curious how they would do that.
I have access to many computers, so if I’m banned from one, I’ll move to another.
Q. Do you like the game Neopets or just the sheer thrill of scamming?
I got into Neopets at first because it looked interesting. It was great when I was bored, and the idea of having a pet, and leveling it up to battle other pets, was fun. I also like the random items, Mystical Teapot of Doom, Attack Pea, Spatula Wand, it’s quite creative.
I definitely enjoy playing Neopets. I took a break from scamming when I managed to steal an account with a fairly strong pet. I bought a few powerful weapons and fought in the Meridel and Darigan war. I managed to get a decent score, and I was quite content. I was in contact with the person that I stole the account from. She didn’t think I was a scammer, she just wanted her super-pet back. I agreed to give it back to her after the war.
That account was frozen before I could give her the pet back, though. And I don’t think it was because I had scammed. (Usually when they freaze an account, they freaze any accounts I had logged on in the past week). All my other accounts were fine. So right now I’m trying to get that account back, I doubt it will happen, though.
Q. Is your scam success ratio higher than scam failure ratio?
I’ve lost everything I’ve stolen. Neopets is has done well when it came to freezing my accounts. I do have an active account though, nothing much on it. But I’m being cautious now, trying new things to see if I can get around being frozen.
Q. Has scamming taken you into more under-belly research such as hacking?
I researched hacking for about a day, but it wasn’t something I had the patience to do. Besides, what’s there to hack?
Q. Would you ever consider becoming ‘clean’?
Oh definitely. I’m pleading with Neopets again to return my first account. If they ever do, I’ll stop.
Q. Have you ever befriended a person and then scam him/her? If so, why did you do it?
No, but I have befriended people after I scammed them. One wanted her pet back, and I agreed. But that account was frozen before I could return it.
Q. Over time, has scamming become more difficult for you due to more widespread knowledge about this?
Yes. Oh my yes. I’ve had to redo my Fake Login and Shop Scam several times since the html for the site changes from time to time. And I don’t trick as many people as I use to, and I pretty much stopped getting accounts that had a lot of Neopoints and decent items in them.
Q. You mentioned that most of the scammers PPT featured could not spell. Do you think that these scammers are amateurs and disgrace the name of scamming? Are the majority of scammers like this?
I’ve only found one scammer that did the job well. That scammer was the person who I fell for. He/she had a nice, well made shop scam. All the other scams I’ve seen are poorly done. Fake items in the store, but never bothered to get rid of the ‘there are no items for sale in this shop’ at the bottom of the screen. Others had pop-up ads, and some neomail you pretending to be staff. They’re not very convincing.
Most scammers I’ve seen don’t put some effort into whatever they’re doing and make it look believable.
Disgrace to scamming? Scamming is a disgrace in itself, but if you decide to do it, at least do it well.
Q. Doesn’t having your account frozen after scamming deter you from more scamming?
Nah, I learn from my mistakes. I must admit, whenever an account I liked gets frozen, I tend to let out a heavy sigh, lower my head, and try again.
On a side note, you wouldn’t believe what I see when I check my e-mail for accounts and passwords. Some people have horribly obvious passwords. Also, there are those who know it’s a scam and fill up my e- mail with lots of four letter words.
Well, thanks for your time. I’ve enjoyed filling this out. You have a great site, and it just gets better and better.