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. )
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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: cash release office <email@example.com>
Reply-To: cash release office <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2014 09:56:12 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Your First Payment
Â Dear customer,
This is to inform you that your name and your contact details was given to this office in respect of your outstanding payment owed to you which you have not been able to receive despite your considerable effort to receive your payment and after been cleared by the authorized financial regulatory bodies, it was also discovered that some unscrupulous individuals aiming to frustrating all your efforts have removed some vital documents from your payment file.
After much strict scrutiny on your payment file, we discovered that some top government officials especially in banks are working against your interest in this case.
So to forestall any further atrocious act against you, we have decided to settle your payment through western union money transfer, which is the latest instruction from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) the western union agent in charge of your payment will be sending to you $5.000.00usd per a day until your total funds is completely transferred to you, so if you like to receive your fund in this way,
please contact the western union agent in charge of your payment -Mr. SAMSON WILLIAMS on his contact details below.
1. Full name,======
2. Phone number:==
We have been mandated by the WCOWAS parliament to issue out us$3.7m dollars in your favor this fiscal year 2014.
Also for your information, you have to stop any further communication with any other person (s) or office(s) to avoid any further hitches in receiving your payment.
Note that because of impostors, we hereby issued our code of conduct, which is (209) so you have to indicate this code when contacting (Mr. SMASON WILLIAMS) the western union agent in charge of your payment By using it as your subject.
Here below is Dr. Samson Williams (the western union agent in charge of your payment)'s contact details, Email:(( email@example.com)) +229 98934620 you have to contact him now and supply him your contact details as listed above for him to start sending Your funds to you $5,000per a day without any delay;
Mrs Gloria Uzor
Western Union Agent.
For the management of bank of Africa,