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. )
- ",000,000" (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)
- 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 (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union Money Transfer <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 02:49:55 +0800 (CST)
Subject: Attention: E-mail Address Owner
Welcome to Western Union®
Send Money Worldwide
2001 - 2012 SCAM VICTIM'S
COMPENSATION FROM THE IMF BENIN
Monetary Fund (IMF) is compensating all the scam victims and your email
was found in the scam victim's list. This compensation fund issue was
concluded on Monday, 7th January 2013 and was signed today by the
Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This Western Union® office has been
mandated by the IMF to transfer your compensation to you via Western Union®
However, we have concluded to affect your own
payment through Western Union® Money Transfer, $5,000 twice daily until the
total sum of $1,000,000.00 USD is completely transferred to you. We can not be able
to send the payment with your email address alone, thereby we need your
information as to where we will be sending the funds, such as;
name:.......(Your full name)Address:....Country:.......Direct Phone number:.....
Contact the director at (firstname.lastname@example.org
) with your above listed information.
Note that your payment
files will be returned to the IMF within 72 hours if we did not hear from you,
this was the instruction given to us by the IMF. We will start the transfer as
soon as we received your information. For urgent inquiry, call +229-6856-0538.
MR. MARK JAMES
Union® Money Transfer,
Head Office Benin Republic.
This email is intended for the owner of this E-mail
Address only and contains privileged and confidential information.. If you
received this email by error, please delete it from your mail box and notify us
immediately for correction. The disclosure of this email to a third party is
highly prohibited. Thanks for your understanding.
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