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:
- "activation fee" (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. )
- "i am using this medium to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- 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: WESTERN UNION <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2011 16:39:08 +0530 (IST)
Subject: GOOD NEWS WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
Dear: Funds Beneficiary,
Information reaching us from our corporate headquarters here in Porto - Novo, the capital state of Benin Republic, stated that you only have 48hours to effect your payment for the updating of your MTCN number to enable you cash up your First payment of $5,000.00 from your total fund of $2.5m USD (Two million and five hundred thousand United States dollars). Since you are finding it difficult to make this payment, we have decided that you go ahead and pay whatever you have out of the total fee of $700 required for the updating fee since you are not able to come up with the required fee. But mind you, no amount below $100 will be accepted so we expect you to pay whatever amount you have from $100 and above. You are to pay whatever you have for the updating fee and we will activate your MTCN number upon receipt of this payment.
Be informed that you will have to pay the balance fee of your updating upon cashing up of your first $5000, also I am using this medium to inform you that failure to pay the balance charge will leave us with no option but to deactivate your MTCN number of which you will and can never cash up the balance.
I want you to send the updating and activation fee with the information bellow.
Receivers Name------Okechukwu Onyeaka
Please any amount you send let us know but remember whatsoever amount below $100 will not be accepted. You can send us the payment information immediately you send the money. Immediately we confirm the activation fee we will send you the first receipt of your $5000 at the same day. In addition to this, we have decided to compensate our entire client due to their inability to pay the requested fee from the authorities, the compensation started this morning been 20th of September, 2011 and it will end on 22nd of September, 2011 by reducing the high cost to low amount.
As a matter of fact, the transferring fee and all cost requested from the authorities has been cut down to any amount as you can afford and that is only money you have to pay to receive your payment because the transferring of your funds were approved and signed as well and we do contacted you today for your immediate attention over it. Note that anything that has the beginning also has the end in that case, first come first serve.
You are entitled to receive your payment today if you do send the fee today. We are waiting to hear from you today with the fee to enable this department to release your payment immediately.
DR. GOODLUCK ANDERSON
Telephone: +229 9833 0553