An online scammer stole $500 worth of Apple gift cards via Bitcoin from an Austrian man named Christian Haschek. He did this by claiming that he had to make sure the gift cards were real and valid before paying. He even told Haschek that he could be a scammer, so he would not pay until he had the gift cards. Well, Haschek decided to trust this online stranger, which turned out to be a bad idea. Once Haschek had done his part of the deal and sent him the digital codes, the scammer used the vouchers right away and then claimed that the physical cards themselves had not been delivered; he had given Haschek a fake address. At this point, Haschek started to get nervous, fearing he had made a terrible decision. It was not until the scammer started to delete his accounts that Haschek knew for sure that he had been duped.
At this point, Haschek decided to use his resources to find the identity of the person who ripped him off. Haschek, being a cybersecurity researcher, knew he could find the man’s identity. After four days of searching the internet, Haschek found the culprit by finding that the same username was used on other websites, including a job search website. This is where he found the man’s first name and the city he lives in, which matched the one on his eBay account. He then found his Facebook page where he found his family members. Instead of going straight to the police, Haschek decided to write both his mother and brother a message on Facebook telling them about the scamming and that he did not want to go to the police because it would ruin the scammer’s life. He also told them that something had to be done about the matter.
About ten minutes after his brother read the message, the scammer contacted Haschek from a new Reddit account. He apologized for everything he did, admitted that he was scared, and said that he would never try to scam anyone again. He also said that he is a full-time student with no job and has very little money, and he even begged Haschek to delete all contact with his family and delete the message to his mom. He also paid Haschek back for the $500. Haschek had mixed feelings about his victory because the scammer was just a twenty-two year old who had gone down the wrong path. Nonetheless, he had still committed a crime, and this guy probably will not be scamming anyone anytime soon.
This story goes to show you that you have to be careful with what you put on the Internet. The scammer only got caught because he used the same username on many different websites, and his Facebook page was too easy to be found. Even though the thief was private on Facebook, Haschek found one of his friends on Facebook by searching the username that the scammer frequently uses, which led to post from the scammer’s friend in which the scammer was tagged. Haschek searched through four years of pictures on the scammer’s Facebook friend’s profile until he was lucky enough to find a picture containing a screenshot of a video game, which also showed all of his Facebook friends on the side of the picture in the background. This is how he found the scammer’s full name and then the scammer’s family members. All of this is a great example of how it is probably too easy for someone to find you on the Internet as well as a great example of why you should not try to steal from someone.
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