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:
- "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. )
- "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 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.
- 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. JOHN WILLIAMS." <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2011 16:58:52 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Dr. JOHN WILLIAMS.
ATM CARD PAYMENT NOTIFICATION
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF
OPERATION INTERNATIONAL CREDIT
SETTLEMENT,UBA BANK OF THE
STATES OF WEST AFRICA
ATTENTION HONOURABLE BENEFICIARY,
Honestly I am just dissapointed at your behaviour because you know that I am man of God and cannot deceive you. just pay the $50.00 and leave me and my God because God is watching me if I am telling you lies. I know it is because of your past exprience that make you not to believe me but I told you before my God who is my withness that I cannot deceive you because my bilble says what shall it profit a man to gain material things and loose your soul. I told you ealier just drop your old exprience and follow my intruction as a man of God and you will know what it means to follow somebody that fear God.
I swear that . if I fail to deliver you ATM CARD within 48hours after you send the $50.00 just stop responding to my email and consider me as scammer okey I promise, I cannot fail you, I promise you. don't fear as soon as you sent the $50.00 today please leave the rest for me and see if I am lie to you or not because I can not use my life swear because of $50.00, How can I swear against my life because of this small amount,but is to show you that I am telling you the truth. so please try to understand me this $50.00 is big amount but is too small for the amount you have to receive within 48hours okey.
Here is the informations to use send the money so that we will complete the matter once and for all. $50.00 only no more payment I swear to God and your ATM CARD will leave immediately i receive payment here okey. I here by giving you 100%Assurance that your ATM CARD is valid and you can start useing it once the card is arrive.
Here is the informations to make the payment through western union money transfer below:
RECEIVE NAME:::::::::::::::MR IKWUNNE O Anthony
TEXT QUESTION::::::;; BELIEVE
ANSWER::::::::::::: MY WORD
I am looking forward to hear from you right now and know what is holding you not to make the payment as you said because I hate any thing promise and fail please if you still need your ATM CARD I advise you to send the money immediately before you get back to me with payment informations.
It is my pleasure to inform you that ATM Card Number; 4236968976456364 have been approved in your favour. Your Personal Identification Number is 2421.contact us with Email address: (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call me at (+229 98677751) If you have any Question, i am waiting to hear from you once again with good news as you can see that i am very happy now.
God bless you.
Dr. JOHN WILLIAMS.