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.
- 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 (Rocketmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.DESMOND ANOU" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 07:59:34 +0900 (KST)
Subject: ATTENTION MY DEAR,
ATTENTION MY DEAR,
You are receiving this message
from United Nation Organization West Africa, We have been receiving a scam report for over years which we have go through the list we have in our office and your name is inclusive, Regards this we have mapped out a compensation fund which you are to receive the sum of 800.000USD so that you will recover back your money.
Dear I write to inform you that we have deposited your compensation fund of 800.000USD through Western union Office for Immediate transfer the arrangement is that you will be receiving $5,000.00USD daily until your total fund is completely transferred to you,Please pick up this information and locate any western union (OUTLET) in your country and pick up this $5,000.00USD and send us an email back,so that we can send another $5,000.00USD by tomorrow.
Manager: Mr.DESMOND ANOU
PHONE NUMBER;+229 98 14 18 63
Email me us on:(firstname.lastname@example.org)
once you picked up this $5,000.00USD today.
Click on this link to see for yourself (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/ik344.doc.htm)
Here is the western union information to pick up the $5,000.00USD
MTCN : 379 231 5601
Amount send: $5,000.00USD
country: Benin office
I am waiting for your E-mail once you pick up $5,000.00USD,
Western union information