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:
- 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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Allen Bells." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2013 16:17:32 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Attention: The Owner of this email Address,
Attention: The Owner
of this email Address,
There is an issue with the WESTERN
UNION MONEY TRANSFER in the amount of $2.5m USD directed in cash credited to
file # KGU/8020182590, at the owner of this email address.
This is to inform you that our
presidency held meeting with director of ministry of finance on the Wednesday
2th jun 2013 concern your inheritance funds of $2.5m that was yet to pay to you.
And all the conclusion of the meeting held on the above date is that you will be
receive your money through western union money transfer in the amount of $4500
everyday till your final payment is made to you.
now contact ministry of finance
Contact Person; Mr Kevin Jarry
To renewing your file immediately
to enable you pick this first payment of $4500,today And everyday you will be
receiving your money through western union money transfer this is the
information, and remember that the amount you will receiving everyday starting
from today is $4500.00 per day. get back immediately you receive it to send you
another $4500 tomorrow, fill this information and send it to ministry of finance
(1) FULL NAME
(4) PRIVATE TEL
(5) PRIVATE FAX
(5)YOUR FILE NO.... KGU/8020182590
Contact Phone +229
Attention: The Owner of this email
Western Union Customer Care