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. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Rolf Wendy Wrona <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Rolf Wendy Wrona <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2014 14:13:28 +0000 (GMT+00:00)
Subject: EMERGENCY HELP NEEDED...(Rolf & Wendy Wrona)
hoping this email reaches you well, I'm sorry for this emergency and
for not informing you about my urgent Holiday trip to Ukraine, but I
just have to let you know my present predicament.Everything was fine
until I was attacked on my way back to the hotel, I wasn't hurt but I
lost my money, bank cards, mobile phone and my bag in the course of
this attack.I immediately contacted my bank in other to block my cards
and also made a report at the nearest police station. I'm physically ok
and fine but I'm urgently in need of some money to pay for my hotel
bills and my flight ticket home, will pay back as soon as i get back
Kindly let me know if you would be able to help me out so I
can forward you the details required for a wire transfer via western