There was no point in doing anything suspicious for at least a month, there was the chance he could be found out so TSA made sure to login and lurk rather than say or do much. The idea being that by establishing a corporation history or at least a month he could allay any suspicion should he be discovered within that time.
He spent the time logged in watching the chat channels and recording details of activities performed by those he saw. Better to avoid PvP focused people and concentrate on the industrialists, PvE and, like himself, newer players to the Corporation/Alliance.
Once in the corporation it was time to reconnoiter, identifying the different characters within the the corp and when they were most active.
It took longer than expected but after three months TSA was ready to strike.
Variations On A Scam
One fateful July day TSA logged in with his alt and decided to work a different angle from what he usually did. It had been suggested that he link NPC Loss Mails and claim that the pilots were his alts. Perhaps this would be enough to solicit donations to help replace the loss.
"Not a bad idea in theory" the TSA thought and he began linking various NPC losses in Corp chat. In practice it turned out to be harder getting anyone to gift him ISK than getting blood from a stone, his corporation was full of tight-walleted players who would only laugh or cringe at the losses he presented.
So TSA decided to try a slightly different approach, everyone in the alliance rats and as he'd linked losses it would make a lot of sense to ask for advice from others on how to correctly fit a ratting ship.
Evolution - Ratting Advice
People in the corporation responded to TSA's pleas for advice, people offered fitting advice, recommendations and linked their own fits for him to view. He then took a chance and privately convo'd two of the pilots offering advice asking if he could "borrow, definitely not permanently, for a test drive before he bought a new one".
TSA > Shot in the dark here, and I won't be offended in the slightest if you decline.
TSA > But is there any possibility I could borrow that fit for like... two hours?
TSA > Just wanna test it out before I buy one.
TSA > Well, figure out if I want to buy one or not I should say haha
Three people bit the bait and two, after a convo with TSA, with a third (Armageddon) without a convo, contracted ships.
One offered an Armageddon but asked TSA to bring it from Jita:
Commander Kyle > well I wouldn't mind, only thing is my geddon is like 30 jumps from 0.0 on my alt, thats why I had to type it out rather than link it
TSA > Aaaaaaah, shit.
Commander Kyle > yeah lol XD will have to take it down when i've got a clear day
TSA > If it's in highsec, I'll do you the favour of dragging it out on my hauler alt if you don't mind me blowing through an anom or not.
Commander Kyle > ill contract it to you
Commander Kyle > its in a system called nibainkier
Another offered a Dominix, again to be bought in from Jita:
TSA > Got the alt back in Jita, docking up just as soon as this cow enters warp.
Rhakaro > i havent bought the domi yet
Rhakaro > hang on
Rhakaro > ill send u isk
Rhakaro > u can buy it and bring it in?
TSA > *nods*
TSA > Can do dude
TSA > 197 mil is lowest in Jita, unless I'm mistaken.
Rhakaro > ccc rigged domi
Rhakaro > isk sent
Rhakaro > that ok?
TSA > Thanks for the 5 mil tip dude :D
Three ships accepted and now TSA had to pretend move them. The scam had evolved quickly and very profitably so far...
TSA Freight Services
Making an out-of-corp freighter run to from Jita to Esescama will be passing through Amarr. Leaving in 10 minutes. Convo me if you have anything you want hauled.
The offer was made to the corporation how would you like to "get stuff moved to our null sec home via an out of alliance freighterbro" as, yet again, the alliance was in a war that prevented the safe movement through high sec. The only stipulation that TSA made to anyone using the service was that they pay for fuel used.
|TSA Freight Services - If it absolutely must never arrive|
This itself is hilarious as freighters in high sec consume no fuel and as no jumps will be made this was another method to extract ISK from the marks.
In just a few hours TSA has found the Corporation members to be a very profitable source of ISK, so why not take the next step and advertise to the Alliance; so TSA copy/pastes his advert into Alliance chat to see what else could be reeled in.
It worked, shortly after advertising to the alliance TSA received a request to buy and move an Arazu:
Timeline Redghost > Can you bring down an ARAZU?
Timeline Redghost > gimme the prize i'll send money
TSA > Def got room for a cruiser :)
TSA > Contract it to this toon, please. I don't like to link my hauler alt.
Timeline Redghost > meh, i have not it in jita I've to send money to buy it
TSA > You want rigs on it? If just T1 rigs I'll throw them on for free.
TSA > I'm fucking rolling in rigs, produced way too many a month back.
Timeline Redghost > hull
TSA > Kk
Timeline Redghost > should be 154 or like
TSA > Cheapest at 153 in Jita
Timeline Redghost > eve central
TSA > 153.9*
TSA > Send the isk over and I'll drag it out for you.
Timeline Redghost > I send to you and thank, don't forget my name fot tha contract back :)
and another to move implants worth around 100m ISK.
scopered > were are you dropping the stuff off in null or in hs
TSA > I'm stopping off in both
scopered > 1 sec got a little shopping list
TSA > I've stopped in Amarr for a bit, you gonna be long?
scopered > Inherent Implants 'Noble' Repair Systems RS-603 x1
scopered > Eifyr and Co. 'Gunslinger' Motion Prediction MR-703 x 1
scopered > Inherent Implants 'Lancer' Gunnery RF-903 x1
scopered > Inherent Implants 'Lancer' Large Energy Turret LE-1003 x1
scopered > Inherent Implants 'Squire' Energy Management EM-803
scopered > please
scopered > should be about 100 mill give or take
TSA > Fuck it, send 110 for a bit extra for fuel and I'll send you whatever I don't use.
scopered > there normaly about 20 mill each
scopered > and theres 5
scopered > sent m8
A few pilots asked for packages to be bought in to the region from Amarr/Jita and paid for these upfront instead of using Courier Contracts. This all helped to pad out the wallet.
Reeling In A Whale
The advertisement in alliance didn't yield many bites but the corporation advert hooked, what turned out to be, a whale of size to dwarf he accomplishments so far.
TSA opened the conversation request from a new corporation member and the conversation moved to requests for advice on manufacturing ship rigs. TSA strung the member along providing information and advice on how best to setup manufacturing, even including a wildly inaccurate quote of 1.3 billion ISK that would be needed to enable a start to production.
The pilot even wrote:
"You seem like a nice guy, what could go wrong :P"
and shortly thereafter TSA's wallet flashed as the 1.3 billion ISK was transferred. But wait! He hasn't finished there as later asks for help to move ~100m worth of salvage out of the region to sell in Jita and he offers a battleship to TSA "for use when ratting".
Tally... So Far
At this point TSA was feeling very lucky, previous attempts to the freighter scam had only yielded a few hundred million ISK and here, in one mornings work, he was sitting on nearly two billion ISK, four T2 fit battleships and an Arazu with odds and an indeterminate value of modules and salvage.
After starting the day with just 120,000,000 ISK and a Newbie Ship he was now seeing a very fattened wallet and a collection of ships that could be disassembled and sold for even more profit.
Our last chapter leads us into the wrap up of the scam and the, as TSA put it, “delicious tears” that flowed upon his unmasking.
The Smiling Assassin Quick Links
Episode 4 - Ask and Ye Shall Receive
Episode 5 - The Scammer Revealed