Scam tip from a concerned Junk Mail user

The following scam targets eBay, Junk Mail, and etc sellers, who may be tricked into shipping goods to Lagos, Nigeria (or other foreign destinations) without any payment.

In most cases, the criminal contacts the seller and offers a high price for an item on sale. He or she will request that the item be shipped to Nigeria, any West African country (or other foreign country) via a parcel service (Fedex, DHL, UPS, EMS) and will explain that the buyer will pay (e.g) via “Western Union. This is a legitimate company, but that doesn’t matter in this case, because it’s not actually involved. Please be warned.

The way the scam works is that the seller is told the money will only be released by Western Union when the buyer supplies a tracking number, i.e. when he has already shipped the parcel. To get the seller to ship the parcel, the criminal himself poses as Western Union, sending an email from a free webmail service to the victim using an email address which mentions Western Union or BidPay, for example “onlinebid-pay@accountant.com” or “westernunionmoneyorderpayment@banknotes.com“, assuring the seller that Western Union has received payment from the buyer and will release it as soon as he submits the tracking number as proof of shipping. A seller believing this message to be sent from Western Union will lose his merchandise and the shipping costs.

The PayPal version of the scam
Another variant is a fake PayPal payment notification sent by the criminals. Unless a PayPal payment shows up in your actual PayPal account you have not received money! MoneyGram is also mentioned in some scams involving eBay/Junkmail and etc articles to be shipped to Nigeria (or other foreign countries)

The Western Union MTCN version of the scam
In yet another variant of this scam, the buyer will provide a real Western Union Money Transfer Control Number (MCTN) to the seller, which can be checked on the Western Union website. However the buyer will not tell the seller who sent the money, thereby making it impossible to receive those funds. It’s like showing someone a wad of dollar bills but not handing over the money.

The “Ukcitibank” version of the scam
Yet another twist on the same scam is a fake email claiming to be from Citibank UK, informing the seller that the buyer has made the requested payment and has a large account balance with them. The email address of the fake bank can be an MSN PA domain such as “ukcitibank.com“.

Reports have been received from buyers who backed out of Nigerian mail order deals who received threatening emails supposedly from the FBI but actually sent via a free webmail address (e.g. “w.u_fbi_investigation@public.usa.com“). The scammers told the sellers they were being investigated by the FBI for fraud for not shipping the goods to Nigeria. Don’t let yourself be intimidated, contact the police if you have any doubt!

If you receive any documentation of this kind or have been a victim of this scam, please contact us and provide us with a detailed report of your account and the e-mail documentation. Read our other posts in the Safety & Security section of our blog for more information about scams.

Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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10 Responses

  1. bertus de witt says:

    I received 2 interested parties for my item-both wants shipment to Lagos!using western union and bank of america-what scammers are we dealing with daily-sending me about 30 mails already-allan snow and stewart lackey-beware!!!!

  2. Tom says:

    I was selling an ipod touch on kijiji and the buyer (stewart lackey) was offering to pay 250 for the item plus shipping included, i said ok at first, then things started to reveal themselves. he asked if i had a paypal account, i said yes, but i asked if he could pay cash, he said he was out of the country for a month, he wanted to send the ipod to his daughter in west africa. On one of the junk emails i recieved (which i found strange because paypal ussually sends an email to your inbox not junk, which he tried to explain to me that the “network may take it to junk”, i knew something was up), where it says who it is from it said “masonruth9@gmail.com on behalf of service@paypal.intl” if you type masonruth9@gmail.com on google it will show you that it is infact a scam, he hasnt replied to me since, could someone tell me where to send the information to, i also have his cell phone number aswell. this man or woman should be put behind bars they are taking peoples money, and that isnt’t right, justice needs to be served.

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi Tom – Thanks for letting us know about this. Chances are that this person is not in South Africa. Please forward all these details to our Customer Care Department via ccc@junkmail.co.za so we can forward it on to our contact the SAPS.

  3. glen says:

    This is so true,I was scammed with this lagos story a couple years ago and yes I lost my merchandise and money sent via Western Union.they even used Bank of America in the mix with fake notifications.Naturally I fell for it hook line and sinker.

    Incidentally I recently placed an ad and received this email response;

    Email Address: eeemm@att.net

    Message:

    Good Day, my name is Emily,I contact you base on your profile,so i will like you to contact me back in this email (emilysamuel740@yahoo.co.uk ) Yours Miss Emily

    I must admit these people are good,seeing as no one has any idea on who they are,where they operate from and most omportantly how to catch them.

  4. stef says:

    Thanks for this post. You just stopped me from getting scammed big time. The exactly same thing happened to me- stewart lackey from kijiji and wanted something shipped to Western Africa!

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