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. )
- "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. )
- This email message is a company representative scam. This type of job offer scam involves the cashing of fake checks and money orders. It could expose you to losses of tens of thousands of dollars as well as to the risk of criminal prosecution and (in some cases) imprisonment.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. David Freeman" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 21:51:01 +0100
Subject: SIMPLE JOB OFFER.
I am Dr. David Freeman, from Helsinki, Finland now based in china. I have an
office in China and Finland .I am a Tourism Consultant and have many
Europe, USA and Canada. I need representatives in the Europe, USA and
work from home and get paid and maybe a Visit to China or Europe or
America as well.
1. Receive payment from Clients
2. Cash Payments at your Bank
3. Deduct 10% that will be your percentage pay on Payment processed.
4. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the offices
will be contacted to send payment to (Payment is to forwarded either by
Money Gram, Western Union Money Transfer or Bank Transfer).
HOW MUCH WILL YOU EARN?
At the beginning your commission will equal 10%, later it will
increase up to 12%
You do not have to go out as you will work as an independent contractor
from your home office.
IS THIS LEGAL? YES
It is very legal (article 15.3) Employment Opportunity Act. My lawyer
all legal provisions concerning any domestic or international law against
businesses or deals of domestic monetary trade. Doing this business is
If you are interested in this offer, send your reply via email to
(Dr. David Freeman, Email: email@example.com)
Dr. David Freeman.
N.B:REPLY BY SENDING YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION TO
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