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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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. HELLER ROBINSON" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2013 18:18:58 -0500
Subject: Western Union® Global Payments
THE MANAGEMENT OF CRYSTAL PLANET BANK PLC , WISHES TO INFORM YOU THAT WE ARE IN RECEIPT OF YOUR DRAFT EXCHEQUER ISSUED IN OUR FAVOR WITH CASH AMOUNT OF $1,500,000.00 ONLY, FOR SCAMMED VICTIM AND UNITED NATIONS OFFICE TOLD US TO ARRANGE YOUR PAYMENT TO BE AVAILABLE BY WESTERN UNION DUE TO THE FACT THAT YOU CAN NOT BE ABLE TO CASH THE TOTAL 1.5MILLION EXCHEQUER,
YOU ARE NOW ADVISED TO CONTACT WESTERN UNION OFFICE IMMEDIATELY AND SEND THEM YOUR DETAILS WHERE THEY CAN START SENDING YOUR PAYMENT TO YOU AS WE BOOKED WITH WESTERN
UNION OFFICE TO START REMITTING YOUR PAYMENT RIGHT FROM TOMORROW IF POSSIBLE YOU CONTACT THEM TODAY. THE AMOUNT THEY WILL SEND YOU EVERY DAY IS $5,000 USD TILL YOU
RECEIVE THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF YOUR $1,500,000.00 EXCHEQUER.
YOU CAN CONTACT THE DIRECTOR OF WESTERN UNION OFFICE WITH THIS INFORMATION BELOW .
NAME: DAVID THOMPSON
NOTE: BEFORE THEY CAN PROCEED MAKING YOUR PAYMENT AVAILABLE BY TOMORROW YOU WILL SEND THE SUM OF $310 USD TO THEM TO ENABLE THEM REVENUE THE EXCHEQUER AND START
SENDING IT YOU IMMEDIATELY TOMORROW AS YOU CAN SEND THEM THIS INFORMATION BELOW
THE DIRECTOR OF WESTERN UNION WILL EMAIL YOU THE TRACKING DETAILS YOU NEED TO PICK YOUR A DAY PAYMENT OVER THERE. THE WESTERN UNION OFFICE IS NOW WAITING FOR YOUR
DETAILS WHERE THEY CAN START SENDING YOUR INSTALLMET PAYMENT RIGHT FROM TOMORROW.
THANKS FOR YOUR COOPERATION.
MRS. HELLER ROBINSON
WESTERN UNION®SEND MONEY WORLDWIDE