(UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. MST) Following an earlier story on SNEWS, at least 10 brands have now reported the same alleged scammer that has targeted outdoor warranty departments over the past several weeks in attempt to fraudulently gain everything from tents and sleeping bags to air mattresses and trekking poles.
The scammer contacted both large and small outdoor brands with similar emails claiming to be an avid outdoorsman named Allen Scott.
The initial email sent to several companies is as follows (SNEWS has removed all brand/product identities):
I would like to first tell you about myself, and then about my experience with your product. And then I would like to hear how [Different brand name – the scammer apparently forgot to change his template email between companies, which tipped off officials] is prepared to handle this situation.
My name is Allen Scott. My outdoor experience ranges over a 30 year span dating back to Appalachian trail hiking in the boy scouts in the early 80's. I am an eagle scout, as well are my three sons. My military experience ranges for 18 years. And this is my third Thru Hike. I have packed the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and am now finishing the US with a Winter Thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. I have been on the trail for a while now and am about half done. It is slower in the winter but a completely new world.
Now for my experience which I have to say, I’m afraid its not a good one. For my trip I purchased a new [Tent name] and it has failed me to say the least. A few nights ago before I got into town, during a strong storm, I heard a snap/ cracking followed by my tent slamming down on top of me. The wind had broken a pole, shooting it down into the body of my tent. I had no choice but to lay there for the night wet, and cold in your broken tent. Due to the price I paid, I am hoping this is just a defect. I have lost warmth and a sense of safety. It is getting cold out here and will be getting colder... After evaluating the tent the next day, I have damage to the tent, the fly and a pole...the thing is just not going to work.
Please expedite this request, and as well please remember I am on the trail and my resources are very limited. I am interested to see what [Brand name] is willing and prepared to do about this.
The specifics in the email, plus a 2011 Backpacking Light forum post from the same email address suggests the alleged scammer has knowledge of the outdoors. However, brand officials told SNEWS that when engaged, the scammer talks in elusive and generic terms, usually claiming that he is on the Appalachian Trail and to send replacement product to a wife, brother or relative.
Has your brand received the same or similar message? Be on the lookout, alert authorities and fellow brands, and let us know.