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:
- "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. )
- "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. )
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Diplomat Silver G." <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2012 05:47:38 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Good Day To You,
Good Day To You,
I am Diplomat Silver G.Gordom ; I have been trying to reach you on your telephone about an hour now just to inform you about my successful arrival in your International Airport with your ATM CARD package (funds) worth of $850,000USD Dollars which Ihave been instructed by ECOWAS COURIER DELIVERY COMPANY IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION COMMITTEE OF SCAM VICTIMS ORGANIZATION WORLD WILD to be delivered to you.
The airport authority demanded for the legal back up papers to prove that the ATM CARD funds is no way related to drug nor money laundry which i did presented to them and they were very much pleased with the papers i presented but the only thing that is still keeping me here is the airport delivery Tag which is not placed on the packages ( Funds ), one of the Airport Authority has advise that I should get the delivery tag so that I can exit the airport immediately and make my delivery successful Direct to your House Registered Address.
I try to reason with them and they stated the delivery tag will cost just $95.00 Dollars only to get the tag placed on the package because that tag will enable me get to your house successfully without any interference.
They have scanned the package and found out that the fund is 100% spendable and accepted by any bank in the whole world.
So they only thing still keeping me here is the airport delivery tag which is to be secured from our head office and sent over here to be placed on the package so as to enable me proceed to meet with you.
So you are hereby advised to send the $95 through MONEY-GRAM to the information provided to you and get back to me with the Payment details so i can forward it to our head office for them to pick up the money, secure the tag and direct it over here to be placed on the package so as to enable me proceed to meet with you.
Send the $95.00 through MONEY-GRAM with Below information.
Receiver Name:________ OKONKWO EZENNIA GABRIEL
Text Question:________GOD IS
Please i am expecting you with MONEY-GRAM payment informationâs.
Please try and reach me with my international roaming number (+229-99481913, E-mail (Â firstname.lastname@example.org ) AsÂ I can not afford to spend more time here due to other delivery I have to take care of in Bangk.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Best Regard
Â Â Â Â Â Silver G.Gordom
Diplomatic Assigned Agent