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Monday, May 07, 2012

Anatomy Of A Scam: Nigerian Check Fraud

So you get an email from someone you have never met, offering you a "work from home job".  You get to keep a sizeable sum of money, in return for simply "processing payments" or some such thing.

If you bite, this is what will happen.

An blandly named fellow, such as "Mark Nelson", will arrange to send you a check, usually by FedEx or priority mail (to give it an air of urgency).

He will ask you to deposit the check, keep some money for yourself, and then split up the rest into smaller Western Union or Moneygram payments.

The reason they use Western Union is that it is not really traceable and can not be revoked. All they need is the Money Transfer Control Number and they have the cash, simple as that.

Then, your bank will sock you with fees and expect you to pay back the fictitious money.

Here we have an example where the package was apparently sent from Boise, ID.  However, using the tracking number on the label will show that it actually came from Pennsylvania!


April 30, 2012, 2:06 pm


Next, notice that the check supposedly was sent from one "Sarah Sparks", but it is signed by yet another character, "James J---" (it is hard to tell".  It is NOT signed by "Mark Nelson". And it was apparently purchased by "Tony Nguyen". 

The fake check itself is pretty good, however, you might notice small flaws.  For example, in this case, the ink used for the check account number, check #, signature, and other information was the same color of black and slightly raised (like a laser printer would produce).  There is no actual "water mark" on the check paper, when you hold it up to the light you only see printed ink.  Also, the "reflective ink" watermark that the front of the check claims is there is not in fact reflective, it is just yellow. 

Don't be fooled.   There is no such thing as a "work at home" job which pays $100's of dollars an hour for cashing checks and sending out Western Union payments.

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