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. )
- "million united state dollars" (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)
- "hundred thousand united state dollars" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "director of operations foreign remittance division" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "foreign remittance division" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Ebere frank <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2012 10:00:41 -0500
Subject: CONTACT WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
WESTERN UNION PAYMENT
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS FOREIGN
REMITTANCE DIVISION ATM
INTERCONTINENTAL BANK PLC BENIN.
Now we have arranged your payment of ($8.5 million) Eight millions five hundred thousand united state dollars in atm payment card to be sent to you through
western union money transfer payment:Your payment will sending to you by western union,the amount you will receive per day is $5,000 The minister trust funds
of Benin Republic will send you the currently standards track details you need to pick up your ($5,000) payment by western union, you will receive every day
till you receive the $8.5 million united state dollars,now no need to send you this atm card because you can not be able to with draw the atm card due to the
atm master card contain large money on it.
The director administrtor trust funds have already signed your payment, now you are free to comply with western union payment office on this email:((
email@example.com )) However, kindly contact the below person who is in position to release your payment by western union per $5,000 a day.
Mr Ebere frank
western union department Financial Bank Benin,
Mobile: +229 990 301 57
The financial western union Payment center has been mandated to issue out your payment and you have to stop any further communication with any other
person(s) or office(s) to avoid any hitche in receiving your payment.Note that the administrator payment need this details from you to process your payment:
Regards to you and your family ,
Thanks and be bless.
Mr ADAMS JOHN