[Guide] How to spot a Scammer. [Work in progress]

This is a guide for all the new, old and/or returning players

Hello newbro(s), and anybody else who may be stopping by. What I will be telling you about in this guide is the infamous topic of Scamming, or more to the point of how you can spot and avoid them.

Scams are allowed!

Scamming other players is not violating any rules, it is just a clever use of game mechanics and a valid way of earning ISK.

Table of Content

1. Common TradeHub Scams

2. Other scams found in Highsec


ISK Doubling “Service”

Someone in local will say that they will double your ISK if you follow the instructions in their biography, when you click that persons name and go to their Bio-tab, you are then met with something like this:

Let’s look at it, at a first glance you will see:

  1. It tells you to read it carefully, and any ISK (money) you send which does not follow the rules will be considered a Donation and will not be returned.
  2. Arbitrary number of Billion of ISK won by players, well sure, but there are no way of proving this. Gives no valuable information!
  3. Table of Donation and the expected return you will get.
  4. Tells you some Rules. - could it really be this simple? read on to find the answer!
  5. Asks you to place a bounty on his/her head as a small token of gratitude. - doesn’t matter if you do or not.
  6. Something about this being possible because people did not follow the rules. - nothing wrong with this statement.
Before you open this, take a quick glance over the Biography above, did you notice something strange?

Did you notice the very small, almost invisible (shown by the yellow Arrows), text within the biography? If you did, great you have good eyes. If not, then don’t pull you hair out of frustrations. This is exactly the trap the scammer wanted to set for you, with the text being impossible to read you have no clue as to what it says. Well, that is not entirely true, what you can do is select all the text in the bio and then copy and paste it in a text editor, for example: Notepad, Word or even the ingame Notepad, found in Neocom (the “E” in top of sidebar) > Accessories > Notepad, now you can adjust the text size to reveal the hidden Rules.

Here are the enlarged version of the small text, in order of appearance:

add “!Il” to the beginning of the reason box.

do not include quotation marks in the reason box

add “, please;” to the end of the reason box.

place a bounty on me

NB: Just knowing the rules does not give any guaranties that you will get anything in return!

These scammers may make returns on smaller ISK donations and may once in a while double someones ISK, but do not bet your ISK (money) on it being you, it will more than likely just be one of the scammers (disposable) alts.

If you see someone in local offering his/her “Double your ISK”, do yourself a favor and right-click the player and hit Block


Ship Contract Scam

This is a straight forward and easy to spot scam. Someone will link a couple of Item Exchange contracts and then the also link the Ship itself with a “price”, like shown here:


When you click the contracts, they will be like this:

  • The one on the left is a “legit” contract that was made (created and then quickly canceled or accepted by scammers alt) to mislead, give you false belief that this is legit and that you have to be quick to get it.

  • The middle one is looking just like the first one, but with one key difference, the item in the contract is now ONLY a normal Vexor which is hugely overpriced at a price of 49 million ISK.

  • Lastly, the one on the right, this contract is also very similar to the other contracts prior to this one, but here you have the right ship, as advertised, but at the price of 490 million ISK which again is hugely overpriced.

When you do see someone in local posting multiple Item Exchange contracts of the same ship, do take you time checking it thoroughly as it could cost you a lot of your hard earned ISK.

Or do as many of us do, Right-Click player and hit Block.


Courier Contract Scam a.k.a. “Gank Contract”

Ok, so these types of scams can be somewhat harder to spot compared to two types previously mentioned. As any other legit courier contract, these “Gank Contract(s)” also requests that you take some cargo from point A to point B, well that is the main idea behind Courier Contracs, but the cargo you need to haul has high volume and low value, more often that not it’s just empty containers that you’re actually moving.
What the scammers want to force you to do, is to get you into using a DST (Deep Space Transport) or a Freighter (preferably the latter), which are bulky and slow as hell and not to mention an easy target for any gank fleet waiting for you.

Let’s take a look at a Courier Contract which I highly suspect of being a “Gank Contract”:


So what information does this give you:

  • Very short time to complete the delivery, measly 1 day!
  • Volume to be hauled is 965,000 m³, this not only requires a Freighter but it also requires said freighter to fully fit 3x Expanded Cargohold modules. - making this a much easier target to gank.
  • There are practically no Reward to speak of, again only a measly 18 million ISK.
  • Just look at that Collateral!?, 4 billion ISK, what sort of cargo is it supposed to be?
    • Could it be Compressed Ore? No, I do not think so, as one of my stashes of compressed ore/ice has a volume of 338,600 m³ with a market value of around 2.8 billion ISK.
    • Could it be a combination of 3 Enormous Freight Container, 1 Giant Freight Container, 1 Huge Freight Container, 4 Large Freight Container and 1 Medium Freight container? Yes, but there is no way of knowing until accepting the contract.
  • Route is from Jita to Kiskoken, only a 8 jump trip but the catch is you will have to traverse 2 Lowsec systems, one of these being often gate camped (see pic).
    d9e7a26e48fa81909baa581b308e94b5 This shows that the first lowsec system Aurohunen is gate camped at the entry gate from Korama, as I’m writing this, there have been 4 kills within the last hour.
  • The contract have been up for nearly one month, which could also be an indication of foul play.
  • Just for good measure, the Contract have probably been double wrapped. This means that a contract have been made, then accepted and the package then re-contracted into the final Courier Scam Contract.

This type of contract is created for the issuer to “milk”, collect the Collateral, ISKs from you, this is done by making it impossible for you to complete the delivery one way or the other. Destroying your ship or you giving up on delivering the cargo, whichever comes first.

Helpful Websites

EVE Gatecheck - good for getting information on your plotted route.


Upwell Station Scam

A courier contract with a delivery destination that the delivering pilot does not have access to.

The contract owner will be part of a corporation or alliance that owns at least one structure, and that structure’s access will generally be restricted to only members of that group. Because there is not currently a convenient method of verifying whether your pilot has access to the destination structure, the player who accepts this contract will be unable to complete the delivery, and the scammer will make a profit on the cost of the cargo due to the large collateral.

An example of how such contract could look like:

Let’s have a look:

  • High collateral.
  • Relatively high reward compared to what you usually see.
  • Take especially notice of the warning: “Station may be inaccessible!” (indicated by the yellow arrows), what this means is that the destination station is an Upwell Structure and that you may not have docking permission.
  • Route takes you through Lowsec but that’s not really that important, all it does is adding another point of possible failure.
  • Cargo to be delivered is small enough for just about any Industrial Ship to be able to haul it. Could almost fit inside of a Cruiser.

These courier scams can be difficult to spot due to the flexibility of structure placement. While more technologically-inclined players can use ESI to check if his or her pilot has access privileges, most players should assume that any unknown player-owned structure is inaccessible to them.

This sort of scam has been completely nullified by CCP’s Upwell Cargo Deposit release (September 11th, 2018) making it possible to transfer items from outside of “station” even if you do not have access to it.


Margin Trade Scam

Requires Margin Trading skill: Ability to make potentially risky investments work in your favor. Each level of skill reduces the percentage of ISK placed in market escrow when entering buy orders. (Starting at 100%, down to aprox. 24% at level 5)

This type of scam usually involves around selling Officer Modules via Contract, and at the same time having a Buy Order, buying minimum 2, set up for the exact same Officer Module at a significantly higher price. The trap then is that the character that has the buy order does not have enough ISK in the wallet to fulfill his Buy Order of the Officer Module.

Due to the Margin Trading skill only aprox. 24% of the Escrow is payed, so when someone attempts to fulfill the buy order, the last 76% of the Escrow for the item must be available in the wallet, or the transaction will fail and the Buy Order will disappear.

Note: I apologize for the lack of images, I was not able to find an active scam at this time. this may be because Officer Modules are used for Mutaplasmids which then may be use in some sort of Abyssal Module scam.

March 2020: with the recent patch release this sort of scam is nolonger possible as the Margin Trading skill have be re-named/worked to Advanced Broker Relations and now decrease fee for relisting (modifying) market orders (50 - 75% reduction)


Kill Right Scam

Coming Soon™

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Minerals Scam

Minerals like Tritanium, Pyerite, Mexallon, Isogen, Nocxium, Zydrine or Megacyte are commonly use for this type of scam, but by no means only limited to these.

May be linked in Local or you may find them when searching through Contracts, here are two examples:

So what sets these Contracts apart from the genuine ones? Take note on the description on the contract on the left, it reads “@ 450 ISK per unit.”, but if you find your Calculator (or use the ingame one) and do the math yourself, the price per unit is actually: 270m divided by 60k = 270k / 60 = 4500 ISK per unit, so the price per unit is 10 times that of the advertised, which is way above the normal price range.

Again on the Contract to the right, “@ 900 ISK per unit” in the description, but doing the math gives: 540m divided by 60k = 540k / 60 = 9000 ISK per unit, which again is 10 times that of the advertised, and again way above the normal price range.


Mining Permit Scam

On the contrary of some organizations or groups’ beliefs, that often say that they are the self-proclaimed police of Highsec, no single group or organization can hold sovereignty over all or any parts of Highsec space.

One organization does come to mind, as I’m sure you’re also aware, but for the sake of this “article” it shall remain unnamed and it does not matter to the point I’m trying to make here.

So this sort of scam arose with the significantly increased activity in suicide ganking across highsec, where an organization (almost like a religious sect) demand compensation for activities players do, in this case we’re talking about mining, or they would be destroyed. Even if you chose to pay the “fee” there would be no guaranties that another from the organization couldn’t just come do the exact same thing a week, a day or moments later. Of course, having already pay for the “permit”, you’d probably not want to pay an additional fee, and refusing (regardless of reasons) could lead to you demise.

So what could/can you do to avoid these situations?
Use a “proper” ship that would make it require much more effort to achieve their goal, the destruction of your ship, so rather than using a ship with a paper thin tank it would probably be worth your while to fly a ship with much more tank but only slightly reduce your overall performance in the field (asteroid belt)