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. )
- "cashiers check" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a company representative scam. This type of job offer scam involves the cashing of fake checks and money orders. It could expose you to losses of tens of thousands of dollars as well as to the risk of criminal prosecution and (in some cases) imprisonment.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Timothy Edward" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2014 00:08:33 -0700
Subject: RE. WORK FROM HOME/OFFICE
SW10 0XE39 Brook Street,
London, W1K 4JE
How are you,
I would like to know if you are interested to work from home for us
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO FOR US?
My Company needs a financial representative in the Germany,Swiss CANADA
AND USA who will serve as our Agent in processing any of our funds made
out to us by our CANADA, EUROPE & AMERICAN customers, Why we need you to
represent us there is because the payments Takes a long period of time
to clear in our banks in UK, and due to Frequent Request and supplies of
product we do not meet our demand due to this Failure So that why we
seek your time and assistance.
1. Receive payment ( Wire TransferT/ DRAFT OR CASHIERS CHECK ) from
Clients which will get to you
2. Deduct 10% which will be your percentage/pay on every Paymentyou
recieve which is your own commission.
3. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the
Offices you will be contacted to send payment to (Payment is to
Forwarded By Western Union Money Transfer).
HOW MUCH WILL YOU EARN?
DO YOU NEED TO PAY FOR THE TRANSFER FEE FROM YOUR PERCENTAGE?
No, you do not have to; all necessary transfer fees should be deducted
From the Balance after you must have withdraw the funds and take your
of total money Received.
IF YOU INTERESTED KINDLY REPLY BACK AT firstname.lastname@example.org