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. )
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "economic and financial crimes commission" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "(efcc)" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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)
- money transfer with this e-mail. email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org phone number +234-802-229-0371 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Ibrahim Lamodu" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2013 06:33:53 -0700
Subject: Attn: Beneficiaries
Western Union Payment
Welcome to Western Union
Send Money Worldwide
Mrs. Wentz Ray.
RE:WESTERN UNION REMITTANCE DEPT Our Ref: WU/RG/LA/04/08/JT/0122.
There is an issue with the WESTERN UNION TRANSFER UNITED STATE OF AMERICA in the amount of $1.5 million USD directed in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308/03, at the owner of this email address. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) contacted us for the release of your money a couple of hours ago due to your allocated security code.
They said that they choose to send it to you through western union instead of Courier services because there's many fake Couriers company here so we dont trust any of them. We are unable to complete a transfer directed at an email address, so we require some more information in order to complete this transfer the listed below are needed.
FULL CONTACT ADDRESS:
MOBILE PHONE NUMBER:
MARITAL STATUS AND AGE:
CONTACT THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER WITH THIS E-MAIL.
Phone number +234-802-229-0371
Contact Person: Mrs. Wentz Ray
Note: That this is not one of those internet scams that all they are after is to ripe you off your money and at the end you will not receive your funds, but note that this is no scam and is directly from the Management of Western Union Money Transfer Nigeria Republic Head Office and our Motto is To SERVE YOU BETTER. We will be sending you $5,000 United State Dollars every day because transferring the total money to your nominated bank account will cost you big money for the transferring, that is why united nations give us order to be sending you $ 5,000 United State Dollars every day.
Contact us on our
Phone number: +234-801-3085-3401
Director Name: Mr. Malcolm Bennett
Also note that you would be receiving $ 5,000 for each transfer that's how we are going pay you your $1.5 million USD $ 5,000 United State Dollars per a transfer.
THE MANAGEMENT OF WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER, NIGERIA HEAD OFFICE. DISPATCHED THIS DAY BEST REGARDS, Mrs. Wentz Ray. (303)
Welcome to Western Union Send Money Worldwide.
Federal Republic of Nigeria
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