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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "lagos" (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.
- 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: " FEDEX COURIER COMPANY" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 18:59:56 +0200
Subject: FEDEX COURIER SERVICE.YOU HAVE A PARCEL WORTH $2.6 MILLION DOLLAR.
This email is coming to you as a reminder concerning your pending package
that has been with us for a long time. As you already know that this
package is containing an International ATM CARD in your name and in the
amount of $2.5 million usd.
This email is to let you know that our delivery team has finally carried
out delivery of your package. The package left Lagos Nigeria on February18th,
2012 and since on the 18th of February, 2012 it has been in Memphis awaiting
To track your package, go to www.fedex.com and insert the tracking number
below to view delivery status.
Tracking Number: 875531681014
On the tracking page you will see that this package is going to a wrong
address. This is because you have refused to give us your cooperation. You
are hereby adviced to provide us with the below details so we can
immediately have it sent out to our deliverymen in Memphis.
1. Full Name...........................
2. Residential Address.....................
3. Phone Number............................
4. Fax Number...............................
Please note that you are required to provide a redirection fee of $150
which you are to make available to this office via WESTERN UNION MONEY
TRANSFER in the name of our accounting officer stated below.
Receivers Name: GEORGE WILLIAMS
Receivers Address: Lagos-Nigeria
Text Question: Saviour
Text Answer: God
Opon receiving your correct details and the payment MTCN from you, we will
immediately notify the Airport Authorities in USA and the package will be
redirected to your correct address immediately.
Give me a call on +2347060527597. This is important and as such your
immediate response will do you Good.
Mr. Peter Fox.
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