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. )
- "million us 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.
- 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: "MR. RICHARD WALTER." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2011 14:20:48 +0100
How are you, My name Mr. Richard Walter, IMF Director. I'm writing to inform you that Federal Government Benin Republic approve and instructed me to deposit your unclaimed fund sum of $1.8m with WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER cash payment, your file number is # KGU/8020182590, at the owner of this email address only. all the arrangement has been concluded that you will receive your fund through western union money transfer and the amount you will be receiving daily is $5,000.00us dollars twice daily till you receive the total fund completely and the only fees you will pay is their transfer fees of $155.00us dollars only.
So contact Western Union Office with the information below;
Director Name:Mr. John Gomez
Telephone Number:+229 9987 6902
They will get your file renew before sending the MTCN NUMBER of your each payment to you to ensure willingness to receive your fund. Western union money transfer Manager Mr. John Gomez will be sending the Mtcn daily to you until you receive the total sum of $1.8million us dollars completely and Remember you will be requiring to pay the western union transfer fees of $155.00us dollars in every each payment you received until you withdraw the payment completed.
Now fill the information bellow and forward it to Mr. John Gomez email address (email@example.com) and he will direct you where to send their transfer fees of $155.00us dollars, so make sure that your file information below correctly.
Fill below info for the renewing of your file.
(1) FULL NAME .................
(2) ADDRESS ....................
(3) COUNTRY ...................
(4) PRIVATE TEL ................
(5) PRIVATE FAX ...............
(6) YOUR FILE NO.... KGU/8020182590
(7) YOUR MARITAL STATUS/AGE..........
(8) YOUR OCCUPATION................
MR. RICHARD WALTER.