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. )
- "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. )
- "cotonou" (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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Moses victor" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2012 02:50:37 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Hello my Dear,
Hello my Dear,
How are you today? I write to inform you that we have already sent you $5000.00
usd dollars through Western union as we have been given the mandate to transfer
your full compensation payment total sum of ($1.5m) USD, via western union by
this government. Now, I decided to email you the MTCN and sender name so that you
will pick up the $5000.00 usd to enable us send another $5000.00 usd today as
you know we will be sending you only $5000.00 usd per day, and it was agreed that
you will pay the sum of $95before they will release the payment to you.
Please pick up this information and run to western union to pick up the $5000.00
usd and call Director of Operation Terry Jude because he is the person
in charge for your payment so that he can send you another payment today, or call
him on phone +229 98185492
email Him once you picked up the $5000.00 USD today.
Here is the western union information to pick up the $5000.00; which you will be receiving your payment $5000.00 Us Dollars immediately you sent them their charge of $95 and it will serve as re-activation and re-confirmation of your file payment from the office in charge.
So you are to re-confirm to them the below information,
Your. Test question------
Here Is The Senders Information
Sender's First Name=== folkard
Sender's Last Name== hegelau
M.T.C.N # === 1773930291
Text Question----How Long?
And We Are Waiting For You To Send The $95 Today
Receivers Name: .........Mr Peter Ejike
Country: .......Benin Republic
Text Question: ............How Long?
Text Answer :............Now
Be advice that the $95is a compulsory as is the only money you will pay until
you receive your payment completely I am waiting for your call once you pick up
this $5000.00 usd, Please email me your direct telephone number because I need to
be calling you once we send any payment for the information.
Mr. Moses victor