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. )
- "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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Anne Ulanday <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 11 May 2013 15:54:47 -0430 (VET)
Subject: KINDLY CONTACTING WESTERN UNION OFFICE URGENT
KINDLY CONTACTING WESTERN UNION OFFICE NOW.
I have deposited your check to the western union office we agreed with western Union office,your name and your email address listed and approved for the Compensation payments fund $2,7USD as one of the mail address win victims,during the last UN meeting held at Port-novo,Capital Of Benin,send your fully information your address,Your Full name,Your Telephone Number,your country.the agreement with western union office is 5000USD per a daily twice until the whole of $2.7USD is transferred complete to you again i want to let you know Mr Larry Martin said you have sent him to claim the fund on your behalf?,as your next kins Reply here E-mail (email@example.com)
Call Mr Sam Harry immediately you receive the message now for your first Payment of 5000USD today because the first Payment is ready today call him at Direct Line:: +22999473544 now to avoid mistakes like transferring the the first payment to a wrong person We are wataing to receive the information soon.Reply here( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Email them with above address,the contact person is MR SAM HARRY phone number;+22999473544.call Mr Sam Harry Immediatley you receive this e-mail ask him for the Ten digit MTCN number:
Mrs Anne Ulanday
Your Funds transfer is Ready