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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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 "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Lucy Obingo" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mrs. Lucy Obingo" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 08:58:44 -0700
Subject: Dear friend.pick up your frist payment.
How are you today,I am here to inform you about my success in getting those funds transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from paraguay though i tried my best to involve you in the businnes but almitghy decided the whole situations. Presently i'm in Paraguay for investment projects with my own share of the total sum.
Meanwhile,i didn't forget your past efforts and attempts to assist me in transferring those funds despite that it failed us some how.I have concluded to effect your payment through western union already sent you USD 4,500 dollars through Western union 4,500 daily until the total amount of the USD$800.000.00 is complete as I have been given your full compensation payment total sum of USD $800.000.00 via western union information to pick up your frist payment.
MTCN : 107-893---#### Tell him to give you the remaining 4 digits
Sender's Name: Emmanuelu Anagor
Text Question :How Long
Please,contact Pastor Anthoy Okwos Tell him to give you the remaining 4 digits MTCN number to you, below is the email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) You have just Seven (7) days to process your payment file. send your cellphone number in your reply.
Mrs. Lucy Obingo