Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Justin Art Gallery Job Offer

I found this job posting on Backpage Honolulu:

We are looking for individuals (Male/Female) Start Making $1,300 Weekday P/T
posted: November 11, 2010, 10:06 AM
We are looking for individuals (Male/Female)that have the passion for Delivery to help add to a Delivery team that is second to none.Make an extra income while we reach for the demands of our numerous customers.
The pay $1,300 Weekly.
Work duration:Weekdays
Days Off: Saturdays/Sundays
Must be friendly and good with people.
Get back to me for more information if you are interested.....
Thanks and have a lovely weekend...
Best Regards,
Mario Lucas
Salary/Wage: $1,300 Weekly
Education: ANY
Status: Part-time
Shift: Days
• Location: USA

This "offer" looked too good to be true and I figured that it was a likely a scam. So, I logged-into one of my extra email accounts and sent a message asking about applying for the job. I had nothing to lose by sending a message, after all. If it turned-out to be real, I could get myself a top-paying job and if it was fake, I could always blog about it.

From: "Mario Lucas"
Thanks for your response to my ad on regarding the Delivery Position and sorry for the late reply.However, I am Mario Lucas a Branch Manager of Justin Art Gallery and I have been given the task of setting up Justin Art Gallery in the United States to further expand and also meet the high demands of our numerous customers in the United States.More so, I will be arriving on the 26th of November 2010 and you can have the Delivery Application below filled out and sent to me so we can have it added to the company's data base.More so, the start of date as a Delivery Personnel will be on the 30th of November 2010 and you are to work from Mondays through Fridays while you take the weekend off.Your weekly pay will be $1,300.You can also call me on my cell phone +639159275768 ...dial as typed
Introduction to Justin Art Gallery.
Justin Art Gallery aims to provide an innovative forum for contemporary art, presenting work by largely unseen young artists or by international artists whose work has been rarely or never exhibited in the Philippines.
When Justin Art Gallery first opened over Ten years ago it was only those who had a dedicated interest in contemporary art who sought out the gallery to see work by new artists. The audience, however, built steadily over the years and by the time the gallery left its second home at County Hall, visitor numbers reached 300,000 per annum, with over 700 schools organizing student visits.
Justin Art Gallery has worked with media sponsors on a number of shows including The Observer, The Sunday Times, Evening Standard, The Independent on Sunday and Time Out.
Many artists showing at Justin Art Gallery are unknown when first exhibited, not only to the general public but also to the commercial art world. Many of these artists are subsequently offered shows by galleries and museums internationally. In this effect, the gallery also operates as a springboard for young artists to launch their careers.
Challenges we face
The audience for exhibitions of contemporary art has increased widely during the last ten years as general awareness and interest in contemporary art has developed both in the Philippines and abroad, thus making us one of the world's Interactive Art Gallery and now we are face with a challenge of keeping up with our numerous clients in the United States as they sometimes prefer making payments by cashier's check or money order, that's why we are in search of Representatives in the United States that will act as an aid between us and our numerous customers in the United States.We would be happy to receive your resume if you are interested in working for Justin Art Gallery as one of our Representative in the United States.More so, Vacancy for the position of a Driver/Delivery Personnel is now available for an Immediate Appointment with a weekly pay of $1,300.00
Nevertheless, the Van will be will be provided by the Gallery before your 1st Assignment.More so, you are also to act as Justin Art Gallery Payment Representative by receiving payment from our customers in the United States in Cashier's Check ,money order or bank draft.
You will be making deliveries of our Art Collections bought by our customers to different locations with a Van that will be provided to you.More so, you are to receive the payment for each art works purchased as our Delivery/Payment Representative and have it sent to our Accounts Officer and I hope you can handle this....
* The averagely income is about $40,300 Monthly depending on your Efficiency.
* No form of investments from you....
* This job takes only 3-5 hours per day....
* You do not pay any form of taxes as it will be paid by the Gallery.
* Weekends will be your days off
Kindly Have the Delivery Application filled out and sent back to me if you are interested in working for Justin Art Gallery as our Delivery and Payment Representative so we can have it added to the company's date base. 
Nevertheless, our website is being updated for a better relationship with our customers and friends. However, you can scroll down for a tour of some of our finest collection.
Best Regards,
Mario Lucas.
Branch Manager
Justin Art Gallery

Delivery Application:
Contact Details:
First Name: ________________________________
Last Name: _________________________________
License Class: _____________________________
Address Line:_______________________________
City: ______________________________________
State: _____________________________________
Zip code: __________________________________
Telephone: _________________________________
Mobile: ____________________________________
Email: _____________________________________

2 Years Employment History (Most recent first)

Employer's name and any further details that may aid your application

Employer’s Full Name (1):________________________________
Start Date (1): _________________________________________
End Date (1): ___________________________________________
Start Date (2):__________________________________________
End Date (2):____________________________________________
Employer’s Full Name (2): _______________________________
Start Date (1): _________________________________________
End Date (1): ___________________________________________

Notice how this art gallery is located in the Philippines and not in the United States? Right away, this should make people wonder. As far as I know, when works of art are shipped overseas, they are usually handled by professional shipping companies, such as the US Postal Service, United Parcel Service, FedEx, DHL Express, etc. By itself, UPS has branches in most countries around the world and could easily ship and deliver paintings without the gallery having to hire its own people and supply them with vehicles. Furthermore, why have the delivery driver responsible for collecting payments?

Since this gallery is supposed to be in the Philippines, I assumed that the email would have come from there, but I was wrong. Running an IP trace, I discovered that the email had been sent from Nigeria.

I was already convinced that this post is a scam, but I decided to search for a "Justin Art Gallery" in the Philippines, with the intention of reporting to them that their company was being used as a front for a scam. I found nothing that matches, aside from other people posting about this job offer. There are a lot of people named "Mario Lucas" to be found on the Internet, but none in the Philippines.

The "EDSA Avenue" mentioned is a real place, however. The full name of the street is "Epifanio de los Santos Avenue" (often simply shortened to EDSA) and is the main road in Metro Manila. Google Maps couldn't locate the specific address, but it's reasonable to assume that the address is nonexistent. Formerly known as Highway 54, the avenue was renamed in honor of Epifanio de los Santos, a very famous Filipino writer, in whose honor schools, a printing press, a college and a hospital were also named.

The phone number really is a phone number in the Philippines. However, a search for the number shows that it is a mobile phone, which is not surprising since a mobile phone is easier to run a scam with and gives less information to law enforcement to use for tracking down the scammers. So, both the phone number (63-915-927-5768) and the email address this message was sent from ( are easily disposed-of and replaced.

So, this job posting is yet another scam posted on Backpage. I really wish that Backpage had some way to report this sort of thing to administrators. If they did, we might not have to worry about this sort of thing.

Duane Browning

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Text Spam Made Its Debut on My Cellphone (Part 3)

I probably should have done this shortly after I received the text spam I blogged about before. But, I sent a test message to the email address given in the spam text,, to see what kind of response I would get.

I didn't use my regular email address. Instead, I used a throwaway account that I keep expressly for that kind of thing. I simply posed a question, asking how they got my unlisted number.

This is the response I received:
Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address.
<>: Remote host said: 554 delivery error: dd This user doesn't have a account ( [-5] -
Essentially, this means one of several things:

  1. the email account was shutdown due to reports to Yahoo! that the account was being used for spam;
  2. the email account had been active, but was shutdown by the owner for reasons unknowable to me at this time;
  3. the email account was hacked by persons unknown to me and they deleted the account; 
  4. the account was never active in the first place and the email address was a ruse. The reply via text would have been the only way the spammer could have any contact from their intended victims;
The last option makes little sense, since using the cellphone/telephone text replies as their only means of receiving opt-in or opt-out messages would have left the spammers with an unreliable means of communication. Complaints from individuals against the phone companies would have repeatedly resulted in those accounts getting closed and the spammer having to establish new communication lines with a new number. Spamming is all about acquiring information and/or money. If your operation constantly has to move from one account to another on a regular basis, the cost versus benefit doesn't add-up in their favor.

The first two options seem to be the most likely to be correct, though I will not discount the third choice out-of-hand. Given that a simple Internet search reveals that the email address is strongly associated with a wave of text spam would have given weight to any complaints sent to Yahoo!.

So, Round One goes to the General Public, for now.

If you live in the United States, you may file a complaint against the sender of this text spam by going to this webpage

Duane Browning

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Text Spam Made Its Debut on My Cellphone (Part 2)

I've decided to add a blogpost with a collection of all the available information I have about the recent text-spammer who contacted me.

Typical Message: "Eliminate up to 90 percent of your debt today - Really! Text Yes if you would like to know more. TXT No to opt out or Email your # to

Email address: (account not active)

Website: (now closed)

Phone numbers
(According to a very helpful operator and a search using Intellius, all of the numbers listed below are T-Mobile cellular phone numbers. While the lines may belong to Verizon or Paetec, they are rented from them by T-Mobile)


If you want to send them a message, you can use a spare email account you might have and send it directly to their cellphone by sending it to (phonenumber) Using the email address, the above list of numbers would have the corresponding email addresses listed here:

If you live in the United States, you may file a complaint against the sender of this text spam by going to this webpage

Duane Browning