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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: TONY UCHE <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2010 01:25:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: URGENT RESPOND NEEDED
I Am Tony Uche, secretary to Dr. Timothy Hanson. I writing to let you know about your $2.5 Million that my boss issued on your name before his travel out for his business purpose. Before he travels out he instructed me to send you the total money through Western Union Money Transfer because it will be less expensive and reliable for you to be receiving your daily $5000 dollar until you receive your total money completely.
Meanwhile, the manager stated yesterday that, the director administrator trust funds have already signed and approved your payment, which you will be receiving your payment 5000.00 Us Dollars immediately you sent them their transfer charge of $105 Us Dollars and it will serve as reconfirmation of your file payment from the office in charge.
So you are to contact them on below information, Vital Finance Bank Western Union Department.
Location Address; Plot 1261, Adeola Hopewell
Contact Person: Mr John Uba
Tele phone Number:+229-990-353-86
Email Address: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Be advise that the $105 it is a compulsory as they told me that is only money you will pay until you receive your payment completely .So reconfirm your details to avoid any hitches in receiving your full payments.
This is what they need from you
Also below is the information on how you can send the $105 usd for their transfer charge go and send the $105 usd immediately and email them the mtcn number so that the will transfer your first $5000 usd immediaetely This the information send the money through western union
Receiver Name,Nweke Chibuzor
Country,, Benin Republic
Text Question, A
Also do let me know immediately they have started sending you your money,but try to comply with them to enable them serve you better.