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. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: My name is Mr Johnson Mattson <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2011 14:15:40 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: My name is Mr Johnson Mattson
Attention My Dear ,
My name is Mr Johnson Mattson ( Western Union Agent Here in New
York). This fund was transferred into our branch custody here from the
Republic of Benin in person of Mr.Mark Diggs in other to release
it to you on daily bases through the western union branch here in New
York but we were also informed that the beneficiary which is you have
not paid them the mandatory charges of $98usd which is compulsory that
the beneficiary must pay before receiving the first payment.
Meanwhile, the payment information in which you received was made
yesterday but we discovered that you have not paid for the $98usd so
we went ahead to put the fund UN-Hold and it's still pending on our
Western Union Website and you can kindly confirm it once again by
tracking it with the first name and second name of the sender which is
below in other to confirm that it's Available to pick up.
Sender's Name: Augustine Okolo
Contact Our Office in Benin Repulic:
Barrister Mark Diggs Phone Number +229-9867-7751
Final, all you are expected to do right now, is to send the stated
charges of $98usd to the below address where the fund is coming from
in Benin Republic with the below information and immediately we
receive the payment information of the $98usd from you today, we shall
forward it in BENIN REPUBLIC for confirmations and first thing
tomorrow morning, you will start receiving your fund on daily bases in
the amount of $7000usd but we do not release payment on Sunday.
Receiver Name: Ikwunne Onyibor A
Country: Benin Republic
Text Questions:What color?
forward the information once you are done with the payment and call
Mr Johnson Mattson
Western Union Agent