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:
- "money gram" (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. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Mrs. Lynda Wilson" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 13:29:00 +0100
Subject: GOOD NEWS DEAR
WE THE MONEY GRAM URGENT REMMITTING OFFICE HAVE SENT YOUR FULL
COMPENSATION PAYMENT OF ($2.5 MILLIONS USD) TO YOU THROUGH MONEY GRAM, YOU WILL BE RECEIVING 10.000.00USD PER DAY.
NOW WE HAVE SEND THE FIRST PAYMENT TO YOU.SO CONTACT OUR DIRECTOR Mr Anthony Fred AND ASK HIM TO GIVE YOU THE MONEY GRAM PAYMENT INFORMATION SO THAT YOU CAN BE ABLE TO PICK UP YOUR FUNDS THROUGH MONEY GRAM WITHOUT ANYPROBLEM.
HERE IS THE CONTACT INFORMATION OF MONEY GRAM
DIRECTOR GENERAL .. Mr Anthony Fred
EMAIL ADRESS ... (email@example.com)
PHONE NUMBER +229-98264736
THEN CONTACT HIM WITH YOUR FULL INFORMATION.
Phone no Address/city.....
CALL US FOR YOUR MTCN NUMBER OR EMAIL HIM NOW SO THAT HE CAN PROVIDE THE MONEY GRAM INFORMATION TO
YOU AS URGENT AS YOU CAN.
THANKS AND GOD BLESSING U
Mrs. Lynda Wilson