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Meet the SF Scam-Buster Uses a NSFW Moniker to Bust Grifters

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As cyber crooks continue to defrauded millions of victims Every year, a man from San Francisco makes it his mission to annoy them, often using the nickname NSFW (Not Safe for Work).

“I’ve had a character since 2008 called ‘Footlong Cox’,” laughs Reiner Nissen.

Neeson said he has been tracking and toying with various scam artists since recent events. He claims to have shut down hundreds of fraudulent phone numbers, dozens of suspicious email addresses, dodgy social media profiles and even some scammers’ bank accounts.

The Standard reviewed communications between Nissen, the alleged scammer, various banks and telecom operators, which support his allegations of fraud.

According to several NextDoor users in San Francisco, some of Nissen’s most bizarre interactions involved love con artists, a locally proliferating group. (A spokesperson for the platform said it “does not tolerate any kind of scam” and that 0.34% was reported as harmful in 2021. )

Nissen’s tactic was to convince scammers he was an easy choice, then chain them in a flood of emails and text messages to keep them busy while he stored their details with the authorities.

“A lot of it was role-playing, acting gullible,” Neeson said.

Reiner Nissen, co-owner of Straight Up Technologies, shows his conversation with a suspected scammer. Nissen takes calls from scammers trying to shut it down. | Benjamin Vanjoy/Standard

“I want to play with these people”

Nissen first began intervening with scammers after reading a story about a man who was scammed out of $300,000 in an elaborate 2003 scheme surrounding a fictitious scam. stacks of dyed silver Chemical cleaning required – charges apply.

The victim was so invested in the abuser’s story that she refused to believe she had been tricked and called the abuser a friend.

“I was just like, ‘Man, I want to piss these people off and put them on and stop them from getting somebody into a scam,'” Neeson said. “The more I can waste their time, the less they can sue other people.”

According to the FBI, scammers have lost more than $18 billion since 2017.

A common tactic for scammers is to send messages to the “wrong number”, Nissen said. Once the target is implicated, scammers quickly turn to flattery to lure the victim.

“They’ll be like, ‘Oh, is that Bill? Are we going to Toronto next week? “, and they’ll ask you for pictures, and whatever you post, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, you look so beautiful,'” said Neeson, CTO of San Francisco-based Straight Up Technologies, which provides a network Internet for large events, said.

Romance scams can happen through any form of communication, including email, text, and social media.

scam

Steve Koslikowski was recently contacted on NextDoor by what he believes to be two scam artists posing as young women – each saying they are looking for a romantic partner.

The 64-year-old San Francisco resident immediately became suspicious of the overly flattering behavior displayed by the two strangers.

“They’re obvious,” Koslikowski said. “They see you in such a wonderful way.”

He became even more skeptical when he noticed NextDoor’s list of two women was almost entirely filled with older men.

One of the alleged scammers claimed to have grown up in San Francisco. Koslikowski said he asked where she went to school, and instead of answering the question, the contact sent him a picture of the young woman. Koslikowski then messaged the person who sent the photo, saying, “What are you hiding,” before the scammer stopped responding.

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While Koslikowski was immediately suspicious, most Bay Area romance scam victims are over 60– According to the FBI office in San Francisco, people in this age group suffered a total of $18 million in damages in 2021.

Nationally, people between the ages of 60 and 69 lost nearly $120 million to flirtation fraud in 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission. By comparison, Americans between the ages of 30 and 39 lost about $58 million.

San Francisco police said they had no information about the local scam.

“We have no information on romance scams. We have no data, anecdotal or otherwise, to suggest ups or downs in these incidents,” SFPD Sgt. Adam Lobsinger wrote in an email.

Straight Up Technologies co-owner Reiner Nissen poses for photos at the company’s warehouse in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. Nissen has received calls from scammers trying to shut it down. | Benjamin Vanjoy/Standard

While the scams persist and evolve, Nissen’s favorite pastime is still outwitting the crooks.

“One of them emailed me and said, ‘Why are you wasting my time?’ And I said, “Because you’re a liar,” Neeson said.

how to protect yourself

This FBI and Federal Trade Commission The main characteristic of said scammer is that he cannot meet in person and ask for a gift card or cryptocurrency.

NextDoor Recommendations You should never send money to anyone you haven’t met in person, and be especially wary of messages that contain spelling and spelling mistakes.

The FTC has a guide to dealing with scammers and what to do if you think you’ve been scammed here.

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