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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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. )
- "economic and financial crimes commission" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "(efcc)" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "THE ECOWAS COMMISSION" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 10:44:17 +1000
Subject: CONTACT WESTERN UNION OFFICE
After proper and several investigations and research at Western Union and Money Gram Office, we found your name in Western Union database amongst those that have sent money through Western Union and this proves that you have truly been swindled by those unscrupulous persons by sending money to them through Western Union/Money Gram in the course of getting one fund or the other that is not real, right now we are working hand in hand with Western Union to track every fraudsters down, do not respond to their e-mails, letters and phone calls any longer as they are scammers and you should be very careful to avoid being a victim to fraudsters any longer because they have nothing to offer you but to rip-off what you have worked earnestly hard to earn.
In this regard a meeting was held between the Board of Directors of The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also with The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) alongside with the Ministry of Finance - UNITED KINGDOM and as a consequence of our investigations it was agreed that the sum of hundred and twenty thousand US Dollars (US$120,000.00) should be transferred to you out of the funds that THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES has set aside as a compensation to everyone who have by one way or the other sent money to fraudsters anywhere in the world.
***Please note that we will no longer be liable for any loss, cost or expense whatsoever, suffered or incurred by You if you are still in connection with the fraudsters. Be warned!
We have deposited your fund at Western Union Money Transfer agent location USPS Post office Texas, USA. We have submitted your details to them so that your fund can be transferred to you. We have paid the Registration and Transfer fees and for security reasons we have also insured your fund to avoid misappropriation of funds.
Contact the Western Union agent office through the email address below;
Contact Person: Williams Carl
Contact Email : email@example.com
THE ECOWAS COMMISSION
Please note that e-mails, letters and phone calls are currently been made to unsuspecting persons by fraudsters claiming to have access to their funds. Everyday, people throughout the world are falling victim to scams of one way or the other. It could be an unexpected prize draw or lottery win, or a chance to invest in an exciting new money-making or investment pro gramme . In the circumstance, we unreservedly advice you to dissociate yourself from all correspondence and transactions entered into based on evidently fraudulent and fictitious claims.