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:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- 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. )
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "ZENITH BANK PLC" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 9 May 2012 10:48:54 +0100
Subject: ATTENTION:HONOURABLE CONTRACTOR
ZENITH BANK PLC have a meeting on your behalf and decided to pay you your Fund through ATM VISA CARD, so you are advice to confirm your home address with your telephone number to this bank after going through this urgent message for more details, the bank is going to send you a form which you have to Fill and return back to the bank in other for your ATM VISA CARD to be issue to you, this bank needs your urgent response back.
Note: being the right beneficiary of this ATM VISA CARD you will have to pay the fee of $230 for your shipment charge, because many beneficiaries have been deceived by different peoples, that is why the Zenith Bank Plc is paying there beneficiaries through ATM VISA CARD .
Finally, you have to use the name below to make the payment of the $230 through western union Lagos Nigeria for your shipment of your Card in other not to have a delay on your side.
RECEIVERS NAME: OGENEH C FRANK
TEXT QUESTION: WHAT FOR
Make sure you get back to the bank with your cell phone for more details on how you will receive your Fund with no other delay.
Mr .Godwin Emefiele