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. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Maxwell Brooks" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 14:36:09 -0300
Subject: Dear Customer From United Parcel Service Online Management
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 04/07/2012
and since on the 04/21/2012, it has been in Louisville, KY, United States
awaiting custom clearance
To track your package, go to www.UPS.com and insert the tracking number
below to view delivery status.
Tracking Number: H8640250193
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 advised to provide us with the below details so we can
immediately have it sent out to our deliverymen in Louisville, KY.
Your Name(In Full):
Your Delivery Address:
Your Direct telephone Number:
Please note that you are required to provide a redirection fee of $70
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: Judith Udegbunam
Receivers Address: Lagos-Nigeria
Text Question: White
Text Answer: Red
upon 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 2347056263998 or email: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is important and as such your immediate response will do you Good.
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