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. )
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- 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: "Western Union 0ffice" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 23:45:55 -0800
Subject: Re: Your Western Union Payment Ready For Pick Up
How are you today?
I am writing to inform you that we have already sent you the sum of $5000.00USD through Western union as we have been given the mandate to transfer your full compensation payment totalling the sum of $800,000.00USD via western union by this government. I was calling your telephone number to give you the payment details but, your phone was on voice mail throughout yesterday even this morning.
Now, I decided to email you the payment details so that you will pick up this $5000.00USD to enable us send another $5000.00USD today as you know we will be sending you only $5000.00USD per day.
Please pick up this information and run to western union to pick up the money and call me back to send you another payment today. Immediately you pick-up the cash do get back to us through this infomation so that we can send you the next payment details.
Mr. Richard Flemming
phone line : +234 818 003 6436
For Verification visit our official website www.westernunion.com, you will find TRACKING on the top of the site page,click on it and kindly insert accordingly this details bellow:
Sender's Name: First Name: JOY SMITH
Text Question: who
Amount To Receive: $5000
I am waiting for your call once you pick up this $5000.00USD, Please email me your direct telephone number because I need to be calling you once we send the next payment.
Management of Western Union
Western Union® Welcome to Western Union Send Money Worldwide.