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. )
- "moneygram" (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. )
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "cashiers check" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a company representative scam. This type of job offer scam involves the cashing of fake checks and money orders. It could expose you to losses of tens of thousands of dollars as well as to the risk of criminal prosecution and (in some cases) imprisonment.
- 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.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
Fraud email example:
From: "Michael Jones" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 10:57:56 +0800
Subject: JOB OFFER
Michael Jones Artistry needs a book-keeper/representative in Europe and the United states.This project has been developed in a way not to affect your present job nor bring you any form of stress but in order to help you take care of those extra costs. Paul Smith Artistry is a small company thats deals in the production various artistry works, like panting and sculptures, also fabric and textile designing, majoring in Africa fabrics like batiks, and tie and dye, Paintings.
It has come to my knowledge that there are a lot of lapses in handling funds that come in from clients, in forms of cashiers checks,company checks and money orders, and payment through credit cards, which are not readily cashable outside europe and the United States, So we need someone in europe and the united States to work as our representative and assist us in processing the payments from our various clients which come in on a weekly and monthly basis.This is why we decided to get a representative over in europe and the United States to help us pick up our payments which we can't readily process here. If it is okay with you;
ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS RECEIVE THIS PAYMENTS FROM OUR CLIENTS IN EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES GET IT CASHED IN UR BANK THEN DEDUCT YOUR PERCENTAGE(7.5% OF EACH PAYMENT) AND
FORWARD THE BALANCE OVER TO THE COMPANY'S FINANCE DIRECTOR VIA WESTERN UNION OR MONEYGRAM.
Our payments will be issued out in your name as we would inform our clients to do.Therefore the following details would be needed:Your fullname,conatct details and phone number where you could be reached. so we can foward it to our clients and they will start making payments to you as the company's representative in the United states .
I WILL EMAIL YOU A LETTER OF EMPLOYMENT FROM OUR COMPANY WHICH YOU HAVE TO REPLY WITH AN ACCEPTANCE LETTER AND A SCANNED COPY OF YOUR IDENTIFICATION ATTACHED TO IT.AS SOON AS WE CONFIRM ANY PAYMENT COMING TO YOU I WILL LET YOU KNOW AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE INFORMATION TO SEND FUNDS TO THE COMPANY VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
I AWAIT YOUR URGENT RESPONSE.
CEO /managing director
Michael Jones Arts Accessories