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:
- "moneygram" (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. )
- "million united state dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "hundred thousand united state dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a 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.MARRY ANDERSON" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "MRS.MARRY ANDERSON" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:49:38 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONTACT MONEY GRAM OFFICE NOW
Â Attn :Beneficairy,
Thepresident of Benin republic Dr. Boni Yayi have instructed to send your total fund of ($4.5 million united state dollars) Four Million Five hundred thousand united state dollars in an atm payment card to be sent to you through money Gram transfer payment:
Your payment will be sending to you by money Gram, the amount you will receive per day is $5000 usd The minister trust funds of Benin Republic will send you the currently standards track details you need to pick up your ($5000) payment by money Gram, you will receive every day till you receive the $4.5million united state dollars.
The director administrtor trust funds have already signed your payment and you are free to comply with money Gram payment office.
Kindly Contact money Gram Agent:Mr. Java WilliamsTel:+229 98409364E-mail: email@example.com
The financial money Gram payment center has been mandated to issue out your payment and you have to stop any further communication with any other person(s) or office(s) to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment.
Note that the administrator payment need this details from you to process your payment:
1.Your receiver's name=====2.Your country========3.Your city========4.Your telephone=======5.Your sex/age===========6.Your id / passport=====7.Your text question========8.Your answer=========
Call and Comply now because as soon as you send this required details to Mr. Java Williams he will start sending your payment by money Gram.Tel:+229 98409364.
Thanks and Remain Blessed.Promotion Officer IMFYOURS SINCERELY,MRS.MARRY ANDERSON.Website: www.moneygram.comAddress:No. 85 Queen rue bph141 kingston Street,cotonou benin EC4V 4AB