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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr Jones Robinson" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 20:44:34 -0000
Subject: COMPENSATION FOR SCAMMED VICTIMS
I am Mr. Jones Robinson Director in charge of the compensation funds
to scam victims from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), United
States Of America. It may interest you to know that reports have
reached our office by so many correspondence on the uneasy way which
people like you are treated by Various Banks and Courier Companies
across Europe to Africa and Asia and we have decided to put a stop to
that and that is why the IMF was appointed to monitor your transaction
here in Africa and Europe from the (IMF) that your compensation funds
gets to you.
After proper investigations and research at Western Union Money
Transfer and Money Gram office to know if you have truly sent money to
the scam Syndicates through Western Union Money Transfer or Money
Gram, your name was found in Western Union Money Transfer database
amongst those that have sent money through Western Union Money
Transfer to Nigeria. We are currently working in hand with the Economics And Financial Crime Commission (E.F.C.C) Nigeria and I assure you that we will track them all down, you have truly been swindled by those unscrupulous persons by sending money to them in the course of getting one fund or the other that is not real, right now the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is Monitoring all Compensation funds. Below is the link for your view
In this regard a meeting was held between the Board of Directors of
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) investigations it was agreed
that the sum of Three Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars
(US$3,500,000) should be transferred to you out of the funds that
Federal Government of Nigeria has set aside as a compensation to
everyone who have by one way or the other sent money to fraudsters in
Nigeria, and those not in Nigeria would be paid by the INTERNATIONAL
MONETARY FUND in the United Kingdom
All I do need from you to reconfirm your informations properly
(1)Your Name In Full :....................
(2)Your Delivery Address:.............
(4)Your Contact Telephone Number:.......
Inform them about this notification letter and the transfer of your
fund; and if you were not scammed from Nigeria your request would be
transferred to the paying Organization
Dr. Jones Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) (+19406047869)
Director In Charge,
International Monetary Fund (IMF).