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:
- "moneygram" (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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a 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.
- +447012905170 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Money Gram International Money Transfer" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 30 May 2013 05:16:22 +0530
Subject: REFERENCE# / 66057400
I write to inform you that we have already sent you $5,000.00
through MoneyGram as we have been given the mandate to
full compensation payment total sum of $250,000.00USD via MoneyGram
by the United Nations Government.
I have on a good authority email you the REFERENCE# and sender's
info to enable you pick up the first $5,000.00USD and confirm
receipt to us so as to enable us wire the next USD $5,000.00 by
tomorrow and subsequent ones since we can only send $5,000.00 a
Please pick up this information and get to any MoneyGram in
your country to pick up the $5,000.00 and email:
firstname.lastname@example.org the MoneyGram
outlets in-charge of the payment so that they could send you
another payment tomorrow
Email : email@example.com them once you picked
up the $5,000.00 today, if
there is any problem with them paying you make sure to contact
this MoneyGram outlet with the information given to you above.
Below is the MoneyGram information for pick up:
REFERENCE# / 66057400
SenderName Ronald Mundy
Address: 215 STAINES ROAD, HOUNSLOW, TW3 3JJ MIDDLESEX UK ENGLAND
Tel: +44 7012905170
Amount / $5,000
They will be expecting your call once you pick up $5,000.00.
Mr. Paul Howard
MoneyGram Outlet Manager