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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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 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: "DR.JONATHAN EBERE." <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 04:01:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: FROM GENERAL NEW MANAGER WESTERN UNION DEPARTMENT
Attn, Dear Friend:
This Message Is
From DR JONATHAN EBERE NEW MANAGER OF WESTERN UNION TO This E-mail Address, How
Are You Today, I Write To Inform You That We Have Already Sent You USD4000.00
Dollars Through Western Union As We Have Been Given The Mandate To Transfer Your
Full Compensation Payment Total Sum Of US $800 000.00,Via Western Union As
Instructed By Our Government.
Besides, my dear, this is the opportunity
for you and has to comply and your funds shall be transfer to your designated
address. But remember that after (3DAYS) you did not make the payment then we
will divert your funds to Government Fund, to avoid problem or we will cancel
the payment for this year until next year because this year is getting to end i
Was Calling Your Telephone Number To Give You The Information Through Phone But
You Did Not Pick Up My Calls Throughout That Yesterday Even This Morning. Now I
Decided To Email You The MTCN And Sender's Name So That You Will Pick Up
ThisUSD4000.00 To Enable Us Send Another Today As You Know We Will Be Sending
You Only USD4000.00 Per Daily.
The moment i receive the payment of $55 i
will release the first payment informationâs of $4000.00 to you and you will
pick up the money and i will send you another one until you receive all the
total fund. Hoping to hear from you.
MEANWHILE YOU ARE REQUIRE TO SEND
US THE STAMP FEE WHICH IS $55 USD, SO WITHOUT THE STAMP FEE YOU CAN NOT PICK THE
MONEY FOR IT'S ON HOLD AND THE MTCN CANNOT BE RELEASED TO YOU UNTILL YOU SEND
THE STAMP FEE, THAT IS AN INSTRUNCTION FROM THE FEDERAL MINISTERY OF FINANCE
(FMF).Please Email Me Your Directly Telephone Number Because I Need To Be
Calling You Once We Send Any Payment For your
THE INFORMATION THAT YOU WILL USE TO SEND THE CHARGE SO THAT YOUR FIRST PAYMENT
WILL BE RELEASE TO YOU FOR ANOTHER TO BE SENT IMMEDIATELY.
GENERAL NEW MANAGER WESTERN