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:
- 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. )
- "million dollars" (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)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Linda obi." <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 11 May 2014 13:53:15 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: Very Urgent Pls Read
This Is Letter is From African Union Office, we want to Remind you that the
Hon executive President of African Union Mr Thomas Boni Yayi From Benin, and
Eco was President Dr Good Luck Jonathan From Nigeria Has Finally Sign your
compensation/ Inheritance Fund Release, according to the instruction Given to
then By the American President Dr Barack Obama and European Union Executive,
also Asian union and Oceanic Board of Trustee so now your Total fund worth of
$17.2million Dollars is Currently Ready at western union department here, so
the Agent In- charge with information below
your, Full Name: =============
Full Address: =============
Phone number: =============
Name Rev. Dr. William Johnson
Contact Emil:firstname.lastname@example.org contact Tell: +229-68450-493
Note the Daily Patent is $5000 dollars so contact him with above details so
that he can provide you with further Information NOTE The only fee you will
send to them before the transfer is ($180dollars) for transfer charges so
contact .DOUGLAS MORRISON now or you call him