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. )
- 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: "Mrs Susan Obrial" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 07:56:23 -0500 (PET)
Subject: Contact Western Union For Your Payment
Hello My Dear Winner.
I have contacted you because I have sent you the first transfer of your
wining fund sum of $5,100. 00 from your winning total amount sum of $3.
5Million USD, therefore you need to contact our Western Union agent Mr.
Terry Young, western union the Manager to give you the transfer payment
information and MTCN to enable you start picking-up your transfer in any
Western Union in your city.
Contact Western Union Agent: Mr. Terry Young
And also furnish him the below informations it's needed.
COPY OF ID....
Urgently Contact him to avoid cancelling your wining fund, so try to
contact him immediately today for him to forward the MTCN information to
you, indicate the this winning are scammed Wining we the IMF are monetary
all email from Africa and we the board of IMF will include our message on
center of the scam message to let you know that is a scam winning, pls
don't reply this email. Number registration code of EB-2520 to him, when
contacting or He will be sending you $5,100. 00 daily as per our bank
discussion with him.Do get in touch with me once you have received your
Mrs Susan Obrial