I sent a letter to Ms. Sylvia Mayuga of Inquirer’s Mixed Media, using her Yahoo e-mail address. I was shocked to receive a reply from her e-mail address with ominous words in the email title which said “help me immediately”

I tried to analyze the email, checking for false return address or some e-mail masking. But it was really “her” email address.

Here was the full text of the e-mail:


How are you doing? i had sent you an email earlier today,please i need your urgent assistance, I had traveled to Nigeria for a  conference , Unfortunately for me all my money and other items were stolen at the hotel where i lodged and i cannot call anyone because i lost my phone where  phone numbers were kept also there is no money on me to make calls, nobody even know where i am now, I am so confused right now, I don’t know what to do or where to go,I have access to only emails, No phone

Please kindly loan me 1500 Dollars and also send it by western union to me with the below details

NAME:  Sylvia Mayuga

address: 2 isiba street itire lagos Nigeria 23401

Write me immediately so i can have the western union details to use to collect the money sent , scan and send me the western union money transfer receipt or just write out the details on the receipt and send to me . Please keep this to your self only please

Please come to my rescue

Best regards,

I was quite sure that this is a Nigerian 419 scam email. The address given is definitely Nigeria.

But i can’t understand how they got access to her email.

So i asked another friend to contact her in Manila and inquire about her Yahoo email address. She said that the she was ‘tricked’ into giving her login & password.

I then remember that I also received an email purportedly from Yahoo customer data service, telling me that my email address has a problem and will be deleted if i will not  confirm it. And that mail was asking me to provide my Yahoo email login & password.

After checking the return address, it became obvious it wasn’t from Yahoo, but from a scammer. The return email add was from some free email accounts floating on the net.


Dear Yahoo User,

This Email is from Yahoo! Customer Care and we are sending it to every Yahoo! Email User Accounts Owner for safety. we are having congestions due to the anonymous registration of Yahoo! accounts so we are shutting down some Yahoo! accounts and your account was among those to be deleted.We are sending you this email to so that you can verify and let us know if you still want to use this account. If you are still interested please confirm your account by filling the space below. Your User name,Password,Date Of Birth (DOB) and your Country information would be needed to verify your account.

Due to the congestion in all Yahoo! users and removal of all unused Yahoo! Accounts, Yahoo! would be shutting down all unused Accounts, You will have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your Login Information below after clicking the reply button, or your account will be suspended within 24 hours for security reasons.

* User name: …………………………

* Password: …………………………..

* Date of Birth: ……………………….

* Country Or Territory: …………….

After following the instructions in the sheet, your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention to this request. We apologize for any inconveniences.

Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after two weeks of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.

The scammers are masking their real email address by using another company’s legitimate email description (in this case, Yahoo! E-Mail Team). So the recipient will think, at first glance, that it reallycame from that company.

 But sometimes, the scam contains a purported  “notice” from the company about your account status. And this is the one trick that got Ms. Mayuga into giving her login & password.

Anyway, just for humour, i created another email account. Then, i sent an email to the address expressing my desire to help ‘her’ get out of Lagos. I was hoping for a reply. Unfortunately, Yahoo has blocked the address already.

Look at this scam email purportedly from Google.

The “From:” email address looks like it came from Google. But the body of the letter with the return address is from “live.com”. Of course the email below is a dead giveaway for a scam.

Attn:Google Online Promo (Winner Alert)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 12:18 AM
From:  “
info@google-promotion.org” <info@google-promotion.org>
To: undisclosed-recipients
Dear Sir/Madam,
Your E-mail has Won in our End Of Year Online Anniversary
Generated Profile Numbers (CGPN):7-22-71-00-66-12, Ticket
number:00869575733664 Serial numbers:/BTD/8070447706/06
Lucky numbers:12-12-23-35-40-41(12)To:
Mr.Francis Henson
Call:+44 703 191 9342
Thanks For Using Google.

Another using PEPSI. Look at the email addresses – yahoo/hotmail.co.uk:

Contact the Shipping Agency for Your Winnings ChequeTuesday, February 12, 2008 4:50 PM
From: “PEPSI PROMO”  <

Attention: Winner ,  TICKET No: 20511465463-7644 

According to the notification that you received. I am pleased to announce that our successful first quarter of Fiscal Year 2008 will result in a record-breaking first quarter transfer the amount of £1,500,000.00 (British Pounds). You should count yourself extremely lucky to have emerged as one of our winners in this years lucky dip sweepstakes. As you already know your email address was randomly selected along with others from over 250,000 websites on the internet. Each email address was attached to a File REF: number  UKNL-L/200-26937 Your email address was selected along with others as winners.

Note that ticket was NOT sold. The process for claiming your win has been made very simple so that by the end of two weeks at most, you are assured of having received your cash prize of £1,500,000.00  Pounds. However, Skye Link Courier Delivery Services are responsible for sending you the your Certified Cheque and the original copies of the documents which will require your signature. When the documents are couriered to you, you would sign them and return them to the courier company, from there it would be forwarded to our Lottery headquarters. Please oblige to follow the Skye Link Courier instructions so the document can get to your present address on time.  You are to contact the Delivery officer of the Payment parastatal with the following information below:
Shipping Agency
Skye Link Courier Company 
Transit and Freight Department
Mr. Michael Field
skyelink.courierdelivery@hotmail.co.uk  Tel : +44 704 570 8089Fax :+44 707 505 5873 Note: The Skye Link Courier Company Open 7 days 8am-11pm Claims Requirements:
1.full name:
2.Home Address:
5.Marital Status:
7.Phone Number:
10.Country Of Residence. You are required  to give The Courier Company your Name, telephone number, Amount Won and address in case they need to contact you regarding the delivery. This information will not be kept by Skye Link Courier or used by any other third party.
Note:Make sure you file your claims properly to the courier officer,winning prize,winning number .At the time of payment of winning prize. Email me for further clarification. I will await your urgent response. Extend my greetings to your family.

Mr. Gary White


Even online social networking sites like Friendster, Hi5 and a host of new sites trick you also into giving your email login and password.

It will send you an email supposedly from one of  your friends inviting you to join a new site. If you check the email address of the sender, it is either using your friend’s email address (that means your friend just gave out her login/pasword), or you will see a different email, altho the description is your friend’s name. Delete it if from your friend’s email, if not, click Spam button to block future email from the address.

There is also an email from the likes of Friendster encouraging you to find if your friends (meaning, those in your address book) are registered already. And to do so, you have to give your e-mail login & password. To facilitate this trick, when you open your Friendster, there is a floating box in your main page complete with input box for your email login and password. You will think your Friendster page isn’t working  and most likely you will key-in your email login and password.

This is how you got all those emails emanating from your friends e-mail address inviting you to join their site or spamming you with adverts from the site.

There are also unsolicited email inviting you to buy something or join a group. The trick here is, there is a line saying f you intend not to receive future notices from them, you should send reply to confirm. Once you send a reply, then your e-mail is confirmed for more aggressive spamming and scamming.


Beware: when registering to social networking websites, never use the same password you use for your e-mail as the password to access the website, like Friendster. Always use different passwords for website memberships.

To all of these emails, either delete outright or send it to Spam by clicking the “Spam” or “Junk” button in your email browser. Works with Yahoo and Hotmail.

If you did not join any lotteries or raffles, ignore all emails saying you win millions. Do not bother to reply.

If you are regularly opening your online email like yahoo or hotmail, thee is no reason to panick if you receive email saying your account will soon be close. The most you can do is to forward the email to yahoo or msn helpdesk.

Internet scammers are such a tricky bunch and everyday they come up with ways to fleece us with personal information leading to identity or information theft.

Mag ingat…


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