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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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. )
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Gorge Godwin," <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2011 07:33:14 -0800 (PST)
Subject: WESTERN UNION HAS A PRIZE FOR YOU
Dear Sir / Madam,
For 156 years, Western Union has been connecting people. At Western Union , there's so much more than ac money you're sending. Every sender and receiver is important to us. To celebrate our 156th Anniversary Switzerland , we're rewarding our customers with prizes of USD $1 million (One million United States Dollars) Because you sent money on-line, from an agent location or received money through Western Union , you've been selected. However, you are required to forward the following information for immediate remitance of the funds to you. For easy and reliable transferring method you are mandate to be receiving the funds $5,000 USD per a day until you receive your sum total USD $1 million. As soon as you contact us with your receiver's data we shall gladly distriebute your today $5,000 USD to you OK.
1.) Your Name:
4.) Mailing Address:
6.) And a scan copy of your picture or driver license:
You will be contacted by a Western Union in the next 24 hours as soon as you forward your required information and you will receive USD $1 million prizes immediately, by receiving the sum of $5,000 USD every blessed day until you successfully receive the total money, this is exellent, to pick up your today's payment call me at +229 98464790.
Save time, send money, earn rewards! Western Union is a service people trust. Please contact the below email for your prize
Thank you for using Western Union !
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.orgTel: +229 98464790
Mr Gorge Godwin