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. )
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Foreign Remittance \(Bank Of America\)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 06:41:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Payment Aproval------
With all due respect, we are very sorry for the email, Please note that you only have today to make the requested payment, so that we can get your payment aproval documents without any further delay again. Please forward us your home address/ direct telephone number so that we can call you as soon as we process every things by today without any further delay again. I want you to understand that the fee for this is $32, to provide you a normal payment aproval slip , and i have been with the office of the director where they can get the document.
please do provide the above information accurately, because this office cannot afford to be held liable for any wrong transfer of funds or liability of funds credited into a ghost account. Pleease note that you are advice to send the require fee of $32 with the below details by Western Union only.
Receives Name:--------Ifeanyi Chukwu John
Country:--------- Benin Republic
Question:--------- What Color?
Please try all you can to send me the payment details today as soon as you send the requested fee of $32 today so that we can finishup the transfer by today without any further delay again.
Waiting to hear from you soon.
Thanks for banking with Bank of America while we looking forward to
serving you with the
best of our service.
Dr. Destiny Mike
Senior manager, Foreign Remittance (Bank Of America)