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. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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 (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. James Steve" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 00:43:02 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: CONTACT WESTERN UNION OFFICE FOR YOUR PAYMENT
Please i want to inform you that your fund was brought to my desk because the director of the WESTERN UNION MONEY transfer said that they should divert your fund to the government treasury account just because that you can not pay the transfer fee, As result of the information we got i told them to wait until i hear from you today so that i will know the reason why you rejected such amount of money $2.7m which is your over due inheritance payment just because of transfer fee.
But the reason why i sent you this email now is that you still have the chance to claim your fund if you could send the$55 today because i have already arranged the special courier company which will deliver your fund to you within 2days with your tracking number to see when it is coming to you but failing to do this, they will have power over your fund by Friday morning and am very sorry if you failed as this is the last chance .
Please here is the western union information in the name of my messenger to avoid delay in receiving your fund and remember that i have done my best for you and i will make sure that your fund get to your hand immediately.
i want you to call us if you send the money to him so that i will call him , use this number to call us +229 96-35-15-79 ok do it now
Receivers Name:...Samuel obalum
City address is Cotonou
Test Question:.. blue
Answer :.. blue
Send it to me for easy collection, the MTCN control number, amount sent, name and address of sender.( firstname.lastname@example.org)
MOBLE TELE +229 96-35-15-79
DR .JUDE MARK