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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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. )
- "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. )
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Nigerian Centenary Committee (NCC)" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:33:25 +0300
Subject: YOUR PAYMENT HAS BEEN APPROVE!!!
In order to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Nigeria's existence as a nation, the Federal Government of Nigeria has planned 12 months of celebration from February, 2013, to January, 2014. Furthermore, The Centenary Compensation is a Federal Government initiative intended to compensation to scammed beneficiary and has deposited the sum of $60,000.00USD (Sixty Thousand United States Dollars) for such victim found on our Data base through Western Union Payment and your first instalmental payment of $2,500.00USD has been release with the below information:
Sender: Reynold Thompson
Your email happens to be one of them that is why you where contacted by the Nigerian Centenary Committee (NCC). On contacting the department with your details your files would be updated and he will be sending you the payment information in which you will use in making payment of $285.00USD via Western Union Money Transfer or Money Gram for the procurement of your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement.
Kindly read and understand that, you are advice to complete the below required details and forward it to us through the following e-mail address: (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the processing and remitting of your prize money.
Please provide the below required information to enable us commence with the procession and payment of your compensation fund.
If you have questions or need assistance, our team is here to help. call +234-706-545-1245.
Thanks for your understanding.
Mohammed Ali Alabbar,
Secretary: Compensation Committee
Nigerian Centenary Lottery Committee