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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: WESTERN UNION OFFICE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2014 02:16:17 +0200
Attn: Valuable Customer,
I am contacting you because I've sent you the first payment of
$5,000 today from your winning funds total amount of
$2.5Million, Dollars Therefore you need to Contact western union
Mrs. Rose Daniel, for her to give you the transfer payment information and
Managing Director: Mrs. Rose Daniel
And contact her with your full information
1. Full Name:
2. Full Address:
3. City,State,Zip code:
4. Phone Number:
7. Date of Bath:
Please try to contact her today for her to forward the payment information
to you, remember to indicate the registration code of EB-2237 to her when
E-mailing or calling him, also he will be sending you $5,000.00
daily as per our office discussion with her. Do get in touch with me once
you have received the transfer. Please copy this email
(email@example.com) and paste before replying to
her or simply call her at his number:+229-99310986
Dr. James L. Williams (ESQ).
IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR
IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR