Professor Reveals How He Traced Fraudster Disguised As His HOD To Lagos, Nigeria

Steven Murdoch, an Associate Professor in a US university took to his Twitter space to narrate how he was able to trace a fraudster attempting to scam him under the guise of his HOD to Lagos Nigeria.

According to Steven, the fraudster had sent an e-mail to him, requesting that he helps purchase Amazon gift cards worth £500 for a friend who the supposed HOD claims is down with cancer in the hospital.

The professor decided to play along but was able to trace the fraudster on the other end of his e-mail to Lagos Nigeria using an online tracker and also get his e-mail addressed disabled.

“Steve” is using an iPhone and is in Lagos, Nigeria (using the same IP address as Katy, who received a slightly different file).

See his detailed conversation he shared below.

Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Today my Head of Department emailed me about something. It sounded urgent, though it’s odd he switched to using a Gmail address [thread]

Are you available at the moment,

Best Regards,
Head of department,
Steve.
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Today my Head of Department emailed me about something. It sounded urgent, though it’s odd he switched to using a Gmail address [thread]

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

I’m always happy to help

Hi Steve,

Sure. How can I help?

Best wishes,
Steven
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Long meetings; the curse of academic life

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

What is this important thing Steve wants help with?

No problem, I understand the situation. What can I do to help?
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Oh no, he’s forgotten to get his best friend a birthday present. And the friend is in hospital. With cancer!

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

I’m more than happy to help out in this unfortunate situation

Sorry to hear about your friend. Do pass on my best wishes. I should be able to get some Amazon gift cards quite easily. I can drop them off at your office, for after your meeting? How much shall I get?
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Steve is very generous – £500 of Amazon gift vouchers for poor Katy (I suppose he did forget the birthday)

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

I’ve got the vouchers, but we both know how insecure email can be so I “encrypted” the file

Hi Steve,

The shop had a long queue so I got a printable voucher instead. I hope that's OK. 

Please find this attached. I've also sent this to Katy's email address.

Best wishes,
Steven
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Actually, that was a tracker. “Steve” is using an iPhone and is in Lagos, Nigeria (using the same IP address as Katy, who received a slightly different file).

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Steve is having technical difficulties

Hi Steven.

Katy can’t find the login and password
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Steve is having technical difficulties

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Oh no, Steve email address isn’t working anymore. Maybe this could be something to do with me forwarding the earlier emails to Google security?

mx.google.com rejected your message to the following email addresses:
Steve Hailes (stevehailes428@gmail.com)
There's a problem with the recipient's mailbox. Please try resending your message. If the problem continues, please contact your email admin.

mx.google.com gave this error:
The email account that you tried to reach is disabled. Learn more at https://support.google.com/mail/?p=DisabledUser i12si13623547wmb.30
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Katy is still around though, but hasn’t been clicking on links in her email. Maybe she thinks something is wrong?

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Is everything OK?

Hi Katy,

Did you manage to open the vouchers?

Best wishes,
Steven
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Let’s try again (with a modified version of a genuine Amazon voucher)

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Katy got back to me with a question

Hi 

How much did you send
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Recall that Steve asked me to buy £500, but I’ve only sent £100 so far

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

I know, £100 doesn’t go very far once you get started shopping on Amazon

Yes just 100 but I hope you’re going to send me 500
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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

Oh no, there’s a problem! What could have gone wrong?

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Steven Murdoch@sjmurdoch

But what about the reimbursement Steve promised? His email address has been disabled, so maybe Katy can help?

Hi Katy,

I'm having trouble getting in touch with Steve regarding the reimbursement for the Amazon vouchers I bought. He seems to still be having email issues. Do you have alternative contact details for him?

Best wishes,
Steven
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