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. )
- 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: "FIRST CITY MONUMENT BANK" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2010 12:39:44 +0100
Subject: GLOBAL RECESSION BENEFITS (PAYMENT INFORMATION).
New Page 2
We are in receipt of your email, and i want to
inform you that your representative who we assigned because of your in ability
to come to Nigeria is out here to sign your fund release documents and if the
exchange rate of $285.00 from naira to US Dollars differences are not paid your
fund which is in Bonds from the US Department of the Treasury, United States of
America will not be liquidated and your fund can not be transferred to you.
After payment, we will attached the Clean Bill Certificate for your perusal and
we await your payment so that your representative can sign on your behalf and
your fund can be wired to you or your online account details can be issued to
you for swift online transfer to your nominated account, so kindly send the
required $285.00 to Charles Jacobs through western union to Delta State, Nigeria
and the payment slip should be sent for our perusal and record purposes.
Below is the payment information:
Receivers Name: Charles Jacobs
City: Delta State
Test Question: From?
We shall await your payment today.
Head of Department,
First City Monument Bank, Nigeria.
Debt Reconciliation Committee