Afrika Dating....

How to Spot a Scam Email

One thing we do here at AfrikaDating is to check members IP addresses. This allows us to know which country they are coming from, and we know that most of our scammers come from Senegal. Hence the country is blocked. What we are going to do here is to teach you how to do the same thing. Its very simple. First, lets check that email. (Click on the picture to see a bigger screenshot.)

Hmmm... looks too good to be true so probably is. Note the person says that they are in the USA. I don't believe them. How do I find out? Well, first, with Yahoo! mail we need to see what are called the Message Headers. These are lines of text that come with every email, but are not often displayed. They contain all the information you need to determine the source. So, scroll to the bottom of your Yahoo! email and you will see the following:

Click on Full Headers. This will show all the Message Headers. They look a bit like this:

What we are looking for is the line Received. There will be a few of these, as an email is passed from the computer it is sent from, to the ones in between that and yours, a line of text is added. The one we want is the first Recieved line, which is normally the one closest to the text of the email, at the bottom of the headers. I've drawn a circle around the IP addresses in this email and dots around other IP addresses. The ones with dots are just machines the email passed through, and these are Yahoo! IPs. However, the Received line at the bottom is the one we want. The circled one. The line of data here is the IP address of the computer used to send the email. It is unique - at the time the email was sent only one or a few computers will have that IP. It is linked to the very machine that was used to send the email, which means it can be physically determined. Often these will be one user at an office, or in an internet cafe. The line of data we need to check is the IP address 41.204.43.111. So, how do we do this?

We need to use a what is called a whois lookup. There are many of these on the internet, but the one we use is at GeekTools. Here's what we do with it:

Ok, we need to enter the security code. So we put that in, to prove we are a real person not a computer. Then we enter the IP address we got from the email, that's 41.204.43.111 just like that, with the dots, no spaces or any text before or after the first number. Hit the Whois button, and here's what we get:

This tells us the information about the Internet Service Provider and where the computer was when the email was sent. The fourth line down tells us the country which is by two letter code: GH. This is the code for Ghana - which means the person who sent the email was no-where near the United States as they claimed - they were sending the email from Ghana! So we can now be sure that the message was a scam email, as who else would claim to be in the USA when actually being from Ghana?

In fact, country where the email was sent from can be easily found out. Don't fall for this trick again! But wait, there's more. If you look at the ISP details there is the emails and contact details of the people who run the internet for Ghana Telecom. What you could do is phone up the people, or forward to them the email (ALWAYS with full headers), and ask them to check. (BTW, the Senegal ISP is very lax at this.) They will then find out the exact location of the computer at that time and will ususally message you back to tell you the results. They may also inform the police or have the evidence to back up a criminal case. Remember, sending these type of scam emails is illegal! You can also forward the email to Yahoo! directly (again, with full headers) to abuse@yahoo-inc.com, then Yahoo! will close the account. That's right, it will be deleted and no-one will be able to use the address again.

So not only can you protect yourself, you can protect others as well. We send all our emails to Yahoo and the account is routinely closed.

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