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.
Fraud email example:
From: WESTERN UNION <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2011 08:36:12 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Special BONUS
This is to notify you about the latest development concerning all the payment that are sent in our custody, which yours are inclusive,Besides your where given a bill of $350 in order to receive your payment from our correspondent western union in Benin which they didnât hear from you for sometime now..
Hence, our Western UnionÂ is now offering a Special BONUS to help all our customers that are having their paymentÂ in our custody due to of prices. In order words we are now requesting that those involve should pay only the sum of $55 to receive all their payment abandoned in Benin Republic custody which has been ready to transfer.
Besides, my dear, this is the opportunity for you and have to comply and your fundsÂ shall be transfer to your designated address.But remember that after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will cancel the payment for this year until next yearÂ because this year is not like last year.
So beÂ advise to send the $55 immediately so that we will register your payment and for you to start receiving your $5,000 as from tomorrow. After the payment of $55 you will start receiving your money everyÂ day $5,000 through Western Union Send the money through Western Union Money Transfer with the information below,
Receiver's Name== Augustine NwekwuCountry:Benin Republic
Amount only= $55
The moment i receive the payment of $55 i will release the first payment information of $5,000 to you and you will pick up the money and i will send you another money. Hoping to hear from you. .Â NB: DO LET ME KNOW THAT YOU GOT THIS MAIL FOR RECORD PURPOSES ONLY.
THANKS FOR OUR PATRONAGE,
MR. FRANK DOMINIC.
FORIGN OPERATION MANAGER
WESTERN UNION OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC .Â