Someone attempted to scam me. Maybe they attempted to scam you, too.
It all started after I commented on pal2tech‘s video about Fujifilm’s firmware updates. I received what initially appeared to be a reply from Chris (the guy behind pal2tech) that I had won something. While I was excited for a moment, red flags and warning alarms quickly filled my brain.
The reply wasn’t from pal2tech, but from a channel called “Text me on Telegram →@Pal2tech” that had Chris’ picture on it. I quickly spotted several red flags. First, pal2tech did not mention any sort of giveaway in his videos. I searched for it and couldn’t find any. Nobody’s going to spontaneously give something away without previously announcing some sort of giveaway. Second, even if there was a giveaway, it’s highly unlikely that this is the method that anyone reputable would use to notify you. Chris wouldn’t create a new YouTube channel to inform you to text him on Telegram. The writing—the way it’s worded and the emojis—don’t sound very pal2tech-like to me. Third, the Telegram account is called “Pal2tech” but his channel is called “pal2tech” (the “p” isn’t capitalized… a small detail, but notable). All of these things pointed to a scammer who was pretending to be Chris in order to prey on his audience.
I emailed Chris and reached out to him on Instagram to inform him of this scammer, in case he wasn’t aware. I then did the unthinkable and engaged the scammer on Telegram.
On the fake Pal2tech Telegram account, I said, “Hi! I received a message that I might have won a prize.” Within a minute I received a reply, “Congratulations you were randomly selected as a winner” (no punctuation, which was another red flag).
“What did I win?” I asked.
“You won a Sony A7 IV a hoddie and two custom stickers” was the response. The red flags were a misspelled word, more lack of punctuation, and the fact that Chris would most likely give away Fujifilm gear and not Sony gear.
“Awesome!” I replied. “I hate to be cynical, but I need to verify that this is actually pal2tech.”
“Sure,” the scammer said, “I understand not everyone on the internet is honest but this is real and you can trust me”
So I asked a question that Chris would easily know. “What was Tip 10 for preventing burnout?” This question came from his 10 Tips to Prevent Burnout video. I figured the scammer could find the answer, but not quickly, and this would keep him busy for awhile. I had a second question in mind once this one was answered.
About five minutes passed before I got this message: “please give me your name and address”
I replied, “Not until you answer my question so that I can know you are actually pal2tech.”
“look,” the scammer said, obviously getting impatient with me, “if you want the prize i will send it right away and if not i will find someone else stop wasting my time”
This is when I told the scammer that I knew he wasn’t pal2tech, that he should be ashamed of his actions, and he should stop trying to steal people’s money.
I never got a reply. Instead the conversation was deleted. I was going to screenshot it, but it was completely gone. I suppose this is why they use Telegram: they can delete the evidence. The only thing left was this:
Originally, where it says “PO” in the circle at the top, was Chris’ photo, but after calling him out, the photo was removed.
I did get a response from Chris. He also posted a video about this scammer, which you can find below.
Unfortunately, people got scammed. Apparently the scammer asks for shipping-and-handling fees, and nothing (obviously) is ever shipped. It’s frustrating for those (like pal2tech) whose channel is bombarded by this spam—Chris told me that about 400 people have received a comment from the scammer similar to the one that I got. I don’t know how many went to Telegram and contacted the scammers, and how many were scammed, but apparently enough that it continues to happen. Chris posted a video back in January warning his viewers of this scam. I feel bad for those who got scammed, but they had to ignore many warnings that should have made them pause and reconsider.
You can prevent yourself from being scammed. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Look for red flags, because you’ll certainly find several if it isn’t legit. Don’t be afraid to triple verify that something is true—even if it seems on the up-and-up, it’s better to be 100% sure before giving away any of your personal information and especially your money.
I hope that I was able to occupy the attention of the scammer long enough to maybe prevent someone else from being scammed. Probably not. I hope that calling him out would make him stop picking on pal2tech’s audience. Probably not. At the very least I hope this article will bring some awareness to the scam so that maybe you won’t be caught in this trap. Knowing is half the battle (as G.I. Joe used to say), so now you know. Please let others know, too, so they won’t be scammed, either.
As an intermediary for a wealthy oil primce
Lol! I just got one of those emails last week.
Thanks for posting this very helpful chronicle of your unfortunate experience, Ritchie. Another tip-off is the scammer’s use of Telegram which tends to be used commonly in Eastern Europe but not North America. I doubt that Chris would likely ever use Telegram let alone use it to communicate with his viewers.
Exactly! Excellent point!
Unfortunately, these scams are just about everywhere. The one I see repeatedly is the Paypal payment scam on Gumtree and Marketplace, which I get sent _every single time_ I list an item for sale. It’s beyond ridiculous and I do wonder why there is no apparent effort from the services or law enforcement to stamp it out.
For those not in the know, when selling, if someone offers to pay by paypal and either send a courier or ask for you to post an item, they will almost definitely be a scammer. The scam happens in one of two ways; either they email a fake ‘you have been paid’ mail hoping you send the item, or they reclaim the payment saying the item didn’t arrive. The only way to be sure of receiving your payment (in the UK), is to accept cash or do a bank transfer with the person there.
The PayPal scams are soooo annoying (there are a few). When I talked to someone at PayPal about it, they seemed uninterested in fixing any of it.
There area few of these scams around. The Pal2tech guy posted a video on Youtube telling people about it and asked people to join his site to beat the scam. I also received one from Mark Denny’s Youtube site. Mark is a landscape photographer. If ya think things are too good to be true, they are! Ed
I hope that most people can see through it. Unfortunately, being bombarded with scam attempts is a common occurrence today.
I had the same message Richie. I thought it unusual too, as I didn’t see that Chris was offering anything and I wouldn’t expect anything. As I don’t know how to do the telegram thing on my mobile, which is ancient, I sent a message (I thought to Chris at Pal2 tech) saying I couldn’t do it on my old mobile. Never heard anything and didn’t realise it was a scam. Thanks to you I will watch out for those in future. I bloody hate scammers.
I hate them, too! Glad that I could be helpful in getting the word out.
Chris is pretty tough to get ahold of, in my experience.
Yup, same thing happened to me after I commented on the latest Pal-to-Tech video. The scam message confused me for a few seconds at most before I caught on. I didn’t engage the scammer, though.. he’s playing a numbers game and it felt like it’d be a futile exercise to do so.
I think it is futile, unfortunately. It will take YouTube being serious about it to do anything, but in that case the scammer will just pivot to something else.
There are some scummy people out there, Ritchie. Someone submitted a tax return using my eldest daughters SSN. I only found out because my tax returns were rejected because I claimed her as a dependant.
That’s terrible. Were you able to resolve that without too much trouble, or was the IRS a complete headache to deal with?
It’s still being resolved.
That’s too bad. I hope it is resolved soon.