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. )
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.Mary Martins" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2014 14:38:22 -0300
Subject: The first $5000.00 was sent today.
The first $5000.00 was sent today.
Our accountant agent has helped send the first USD$5000.00 to you
western union so get back to this office of Western union Agent to pick
this USD$5000 out of the total sum of USD$1.8Million.
Call Mr. James Brown immediately you get this E-mail to enable him
speed up for
your payment or you send him an e-mail forwarding all the necessary
informationâs required from you so that they will commence on First
with Text Question and Answer/ Sender Name for you to pick up the first
But I will advise that you try and call to facilitate your payment.
we will be sending you $5000 Dollars every day because to transfer the
money to your account will cost you big money for the transferring
United Nations give us order to be sending you $5000 Dollars every day
bellow is the information of the first transfer In your name and you
advised to contact the Western Union Agent Mr. James Brown to give you
complete MTCN for the first Installment of usd$5000 because the MTCN
you now is not complete as send Eight digit numbers remaining two
will collect from Mr. James Brown, once you have made the contact with
enable you pick up the payment of USD$5000 today.
But I advise you call Mr. James Brown Immediately you receive this
+229-98931356 ask him for the two digit number's of the MTCN:
SENDER'S NAME:......Cynthia Farnsley
Contact us on our:
Western union Agent:Mr.James Brown
E-mail:( email@example.com )
Ask him to give you the mtcn, sender name, to pick the $5,000.00. I
told him to
keep sending you USD$5000.00 daily until the payment of USD$1.8Million
Again forward him
(1) Your Full Name:....
So that he will be sure that you are the right person to start receive
USD$5000 out of the total sum of USD$1.8Million from government office
Call him immediately to give you Question and Answer Contact person.
Mr. James Brown.