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:
- "money gram" (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. )
- "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.
- 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: "George .F. Moore" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 01:14:33 -0700
Subject: YOU PAYMENT REPORT UPDATES
I am Mr. George .F. Moore (World Bank Auditor) I went as directed by the World Bank to make your funds US$550,000. transfer to your banks account provided below within 14 hours. And this account below was provided by your Sister Mrs. Sarah R. based on the ground that you sent him as your next of kin.
Wells Fargo Bank
BANK ADDRESS: 101 19th Ave Sw, Willmar,
Minnesota 56201 USA
NAME ON ACCOUNT: Sara R.
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 1173428747
ROUTING NUMBER: 099000319 7
We need confirmation from you to proceed with the wire transfer fees of US$85 only via money gram today.
Call Mr. Alan Brown as soon as you have gone through this email its very urgent in the next 24 hours to rectify your bank account details if there are any mistakes.
African payment officer:
Mr. Alan Brown
George .F. Moore
World Bank Auditor