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. )
- 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 Akwa Mmili <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2012 15:48:07 +0800 (CST)
Subject: Attention: E-mail Owner,Beneficiary
Attention: E-mail Owner,Beneficiary
Are you ready to pick up this $5,000.00 sent today? We have concluded to effect your payment through western union $5,000.00 daily until the ($2.7million usd) is completely transferred to you. Meanwhile,DR DAVID PHILIP has sent $5,000.00 in your name today. So contact Western union Agent DR DAVID PHILIP to pick up this $5000 now:
Contact person :( DR DAVID PHILIP)
98129391Ask him to give you the Mtcn, sender name, question and answer to pick the $5,000.00. Also you should send to him your information.Do reply also with your name and address as directed below to avoid mistakes like transfering to a wrong person.
Please fill out the following form. All fields mark with are required.
Passport/By Attach or Drivers License Number.
Call DR DAVID PHILIP now for your first Payment of $5000,00 today because the first Payment of $5000,00 is ready today call him at Direct Line: *:+22998129391 now.to avoid mistakes like transfering the first payment to a wrong person
We are wataing to receive the information soon.
western union agent Mr Akwa Mmili