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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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. )
- "transfer of your funds" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "hundred thousand united state dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Walter Fuchs" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:38:29 -0800
Subject: PICK UP YOUR FUNDS IMMEDIATELY
Now We Have Arranged your payment of ($ 4.8millions) Four Million Eight Hundred Thousand United State Dollars to be sent to you through Western Union Money Transfer, We will be sending the money to you via Western Union Money Transfer., The Amount You will receive per day is
$ 10,000 daily
Now you are free to contact Western Union Money Transfer Office via email or phone as listed bellow for an immediate release of your funds
Dr Tony Christ
Western Union Department
United Bank For Africa
Tel +229 68 55 7 666
E-mail: ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Note That The administrator payment need this details from you to process your payment:
Receiver name -----------------
Cell Phone ---------------------------
Test question -----------------
Comply now Because as soon as you feel this required details to Dr Tony Christ, He Will start sending your payment by Western Union Money Transfer.His email contact is ( email@example.com ) Please Contact Dr Tony only Christ on His email bellow (
firstname.lastname@example.org ) Please follow my instructions, Please copy this email ( email@example.com) then paste it in your (FIELD TO) and Then Contact Dr Tony Christ so That He Will start the transfer of your funds today, Please His copy you make safe and Then send him email messages in His email address. Once again, This is His email address ( firstname.lastname@example.org )