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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Gloria Peterson" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 4 May 2019 08:36:52 +0100
MoneyGram Office Address. NO: 18 NEW MARKET ROAD ONITSHA MAIN MARKET
NIGERIA, West Africa.
Telephone. +234 7011001118.
I resumed work recently as director of moneygram transfer office here in Nigeria,west africa ,This is to inform you that,there is payment file valued $200,000.00 USD that bear your name ,So we want to start sending your fund of $200,000.00USD that is in this office since last year 2018 and you can only be receiving two times daily from us through your payment file, Moreover,you will pay $75 only for re-activation of your payment file that back up your fund before you can receive your first payment.
Furthermore, We have made todays payment for you via MONEY GRAM:Below is the Reference# number:62272243,But you have to pay $75 for activation of your payment file before you can be able to pick up this first payment of $2500 today.So kindly to your nearest MONEYGRAM office at your area and send the $75 with the below information to enable you pick up your first payment today.
Sender name= Helen Moore
Ref number #=62272243
Below is the information where to send the $75
Receiver name:Tagbo Mike
Country: Nigeria Republic
Waiting to hear from you soon for the release of the other payment today.
Mrs Gloria Peterson