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. )
- "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. )
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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.
- +447024056736 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Todd Richardson" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 10:18:23 -0800
Dear Job Hunter,
We have a job opening at A.T.I, we are searching for a financial payment contractor who is willing to work for us get paid weekly and earn a basic salary monthly with bonuses and minus the weekly commission without leaving his/her present job within USA. You will receive payments from our customers in money orders/checks that will be delivered to you through a courier service/agent, cash at your bank and remit via western union or money gram money transfer. We need someone who is effective, respectful and smart to take up the post. He/She should be 18 years and above, must have a good internet facility at home and have a 1 - 2 hours free time daily for assignments.
Benefits, including 401K, medical/dental/life insurance, and transportation compensation are also available to those who qualify. Interested people should contact asap with the following information and resume if any :
* Full Name:
* Full Street Address(P.O Box not acceptable):
* Zip code:
* Contact Phone number(s):
Mr Todd Richardson,
Human Resources Manager,
NOTE : All expenses/fees will be paid by us, if anybody solicits for fees upfront discard the email as spam !