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. )
- "email@example.com" (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.
- 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: "United Parcel Services \(UPS\)." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2011 07:57:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: TRANSACTION CODE 233/CSTC/101/33028/ VERY URGENT.
We are confused about your silence after several messages regarding your approved ATM MASTER CARD package that was sent to you through our diplomatic delivering agent who has arrived United States with your package.
You can call our agent on 772 933 1568 who is having your parcel over there in United States now waiting for your confirmation to deliver the ATM Master Card package to your city address.
Meanwhile, I will be sending your tracking number to you as soon as you send our shipping fee of $132. Please reply quickly with the fee so that you can receive the tracking number and have your package deliver immediately you communicate with our agent.
Here is the information to send the shipping fee to us via western union for quicker operations:
Western Union to:.... EZENNIA ENUGWU
Text question:.......... IN GOD?
Text Answer:............ WE TRUST.
We are looking forward to receive the fee and re-confirmation of your mailing address as well as your telephone numbers as our delivering agent complained of calling you without success/getting through.
((1) SHIPMENT CODE AWB 33XZS
(2) REGISTERED TAG FCSCB77415.
(3) SECURITY CODE SCTC/2001DHX/567/
(4) TRANSACTION CODE 233/CSTC/101/33028/
(5) CERTIFICATE DEPOSIT CODE SCTC/BUN/xxiv/-78/01
My best wishes to your family and more blessings.
Rev. Robert Williams
Tel: +234 802 555 7395
Thank you again for bringing this matter to our attention.
UPS Corporate Compliance & Ethics Fraud Report Management.