fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "mtcn" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447011133590 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rocketmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: georgenn202040 <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 01:33:48 -0700
Subject: Your payment via Western Union Money Transfer
*I have concluded to effect you thee cash $850 000.00 United State dollars*
*Through western union today, but the maximum amount you will be receiving
each day starting from tomorrow is $4,000.00 daily until the funds is
completely* *Transferred to you by. Western union Agent: Miss Susan Johnson
TEL: 00234813493816 E-mail:*
*( firstname.lastname@example.org )*
* Though I , *
*Dr George . M. Nelson are very glad for your pass efforts to assist me on
the transaction, of which I have concluded the transaction with another
person from England and I can not forget to notify you, Please kindly go
ahead and contact the Western Union Agent so that she will transfer reflect
your payment 850,000.00 USD made in your name today. so contact Miss Susan
Johnson and tell her to give you the mtcn, sender name and question/answer
to pick the $4,000.00 USD every day until the total sum will be transfer to
you. Pls let me know as soon as you received all your funds of $850 000.00
united state dollars.*
*Please feel free and call me through my UK Line +447011133590 because I am
presently now in UK for my business investments with my new partner.*
*Dr George . M. Nelson.*
*N/B Please sorry that I did not conclude this transaction with you, its the
will of God thats why I can not forget to notify you because you try little
for me no matter whatsoever... I appreciate your first interest okay...*