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. )
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- 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: "scott" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 15:14:27 -0400
Subject: THIS IS YOUR FIRST PAYMENT OF $5000.000 CALL ME AS SOON AS YOU PICK UP
Money Transfer® Service
ATTENTION: Dear Customer,
WE ARE INSTRUCTED TO SEND YOUR FUND TO YOUR ADDRESS IN YOUR CITY FROM THE FINACIAL DEPARTMENT HERE IN BENIN REPUBLIC, YOU WILL BE RECEIVING YOUR FUND ( $5,000.00 U.S.D ) PER DAY UNTIL YOU RECEIVE ALL YOUR TOTAL PAYMENT WHICH IS THE SUM OF $2,800,000.00 AS SCHEDULED IN OUR OFFICE HERE.
ONCE THE PAYMENT OF THE TRANSFER CHARGES ($68.00) AND RE-NEWING OF YOUR PAYMENT FILE HERE IN OUR OFFICE IS BEEN MADE, YOU WILL START RECEIVING YOUR PAYMENT INFORMATION OF SUM $5,000.00 PER DAY IMMEDIATELY OKAY.
SENDER'S FIRST NAME:-- Donald
SENDER'S LAST NAME:-- Norlund
AMOUNT SENT:-- $5000.00 USD
HERE IS THE ONE WE SEND TO YOU BUT IT WILL REMAIN ON HOLD UNTIL YOU SEND US OUR TRANSFER CHARGES OF $68.00 USD BEFORE WE CAN RELEASE IT.
FINALLY, URGENT SEND US THE $68 USD TO ENABLE US PROCEED ON YOUR PAYMENT IMMEDIATELY.
BELOW IS OUR ACCOUNTANT OFFICER INFORMATION FOR YOU TO SEND THE $68 USD THROUGH OUR WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER BEEN OUR TRANSFER CHARGE.
1.RECEIVER NAME:====NNAMDI IGBAUNGO.
2.COUNTRY:======Republic of Benin.
6.AMOUNT:===========$68. 00 USD
AND CONTCAT US WITH THIS E-MAIL ADDERSS (firstname.lastname@example.org) AND YOUR INFORMATION
Note that the administrator payment need this details from you to process your payment:
Beneficiarey name======You Address======You Telephone===You Country====You City======You State=======You Zip Code=====Test Question=====Test Answer=======E-mail:(email@example.com
tell +229 9878-9714
MR.JAMES UBAH .
FORIGN OPERATION MANAGER
WESTERN UNION OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC
THIS IS OUR CONDUCT CODE
YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED .