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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mike Lucas" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2010 11:50:17 +0200
Subject: YOUR TRANSFER PAYMENT CODE MTCN 325-148-9631
Suprise to hear from us this Message is from Federal Bureau of Investigation Monitoring Service, This is to let you know that We have finally concluded with Bank of Africa Benin to release your payment outstanding ATM CARD $1.5 Million to you through Western Union New Branch Office which total payment going to be receive each day is $5,000.00 untill they send it Completed.
First Payment has been send : MTCN:325-148-9631 NOTE; this payment was directed to be made available in your name but you have to re-new your Payment file with $128.00 as to enable them purchasing of your transfer file to prevent illegal transfer before you pick it up because it cannot be deduct.
I told him to keep sending you $5,000.00 daily until the payment of $1.5 Million is completed, again re-confirm your address to them which to avoid sending it to wrong person so that they will besure;
Your Full Name................
Your Home Address..............
Your current Phone Number ..............
Your Cell Number...............
Your personal identification............
Please,contact:Dr.Douf Harris to the below E-mail ( email@example.com ) and make sure you call him.+229 97552819 to give you Sender Name & Question and Answer to pick up your money OK let me know when you confirm it all.
Hon Dr.Mike Lucas