About four hours ago I received the following email:
Western Union email@example.com
16:10 (4 hours ago)
to undisclosed recipients
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
MALAYSIAN PAY-OUT CENTER
Dear Western Union Beneficiary,
UNITED NATIONS PAYMENT NOTIFICATION.
We wish to inform you that the United Nations (UN) has authorised us to remit to
you a total amount of $1,500,000.00 USD (One Million Five Hundred Thousand
United States Dollars). This amount is to be paid to you because of the fact
that you were selected as a beneficiary in the Last E-mail ballot promotion held
in Malaysia, by the United Nations. This promotion is inline with the social
resposibility of the United Nations Organization, which is held once every year
to change the living status of five (5) lives around the Globe. This year,
yourself and Four (4) other people were randomly selected. On behalf of the
United Nations Organization, we wish to congratulate you formally.
Your Inheritance/Winning payment was paid out to us, by the United Nations, and
they have successfully succeeded in depositing your whole funds with us here at
Western Union Malaysia. They have now ordered us to take full responsibility in
the transfer process of your funds and thus commence the immediate remittance of
your funds to you. Be strongly informed that because of our Western Union
transfer policy, your funds will be paid to you via our Western Union Daily
Transfer limit of $5,000USD-$7,600USD. This means that you will continuously
receive a daily amount of $5,000USD-$7,600USD USD from us, and this amount can
be collected from any of our numerous Western Union outlets in your current
To begin receiving your daily payment as stated above, we need you to provide us
with; Your Full Name, Address, and Phone Number. Upon receipt of the requested
details, your first transaction will be activated by you, we shall then proceed to
provide you with the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) for the first
installment, and we will continue to email you others after 24 hours of
receiving each payment.
For more information on your payment status;
E-mail Mrs. Frances Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
OR call our 24 hours Helpline @ Tel:+601-642-752-48 for any inquiries on the above
Once again the first sign this is a phishing expedition is the “to undisclosed recipients”. In this case that is particularly telling because according to the email, there are only five winners and they have my email address. So the scattergun approach is a bit of overkill.
I won on an “email ballot promotion”. Interesting because that would seem to indicate I had actually taken the time to enter a contest. That never happened. And why would the UN have held this draw in Malaysia rather than at headquarters in New York? It also seems odd that an organization like the UN would have it set up in such a manner that a lumpsum payment can’t be made.
Notice also that the origin of the email is shown as Western Union with a “.cn” extension. Let me see, the UN held this draw in Malaysia and decided that Western Union in China would be responsible for distributing the winnings – on a daily basis. Yet, when the patsy responds to the email, they are asked to send their information to an email with a “.mn” extension, which a search on Google tells me is Mongolia! This certainly does seem to be united nations phishing trip.
If you receive something like this, remember that if you didn’t enter a contest, you can’t win.