Sunday, November 19, 2017

Scam Spotting: Is this kitten for sale page on Facebook legit or not?

Someone brought this to the attention of /r/scams... is this legit?

FB page claims to have Sphynx kittens for sale at $600 
The initial page is already problematic. Google photo search comes up with a for sale ad from south Australia town of Glenunga.

Scrolling through the cute photos shows they've been advertising these cats since January 20th, 2017.

A volunteer contacted them via Facebook Messenger, and they claimed to be in Dallas, TX.

Their first timeline photo is this cat:

While I cannot find the EXACT photo, it was pretty obvious it was a screencap from a video, as I was able to find this photo of the same cat, the same potted plant, the same plastic sheet on the same table, just different pose, but it's from a classified ad in Granada, Spain.  There's a video below (no longer available) so presumably, that's where the above "photo" came from.

Here's another photo, which is interesting in the details:

This photo actually appeared previously in a UK classified ad in a modified form:

Ah, but you ask, isn't this photo SMALLER than the other photo, therefore the OTHER photo is "real" and this is the copy?

Nope, look again in the upper right corner.

It's a reel of "Arctic Cable", and it's labeled as "30 Metre", which means it's in Europe. Here's an example from Gumtree. On the sticker is the same label: 30 METRE.

So the "" is the real photo, albeit, a trimmed version for a thumbnail, rather than the full-size photo. And the "sphynx for sale" photo is the copy, since they claim to be in Dallas, TX, but used a photo with "Metre", which means the photo is from UK.

I can go through more photos and point out other discrepancies, but I think I've made my point.

  • Facebook does NOT vet its vendors or pages
  • Scammers setup anywhere, and they *know* you will search, so they pick photos you can't find by doing screencap from hi-res videos instead
  • If you spot something suspicious, CHECK IT CAREFULLY. People want to see cat will only see cat, and not the clue that the photo was NOT from a US household. 
  • Adopt a cat locally, from a shelter if possible. 
  • Don't be scammed. Be skeptical. 

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