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. )
- "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. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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: Mr Johnson Morgan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Mr Johnson Morgan <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2014 14:37:59 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: YOU HAVE BEEN COMPENSATED THE SUM OF $5,000000 BY WORLD BANK
Â Â THE WORLD BANK,REGIONAL HEADQUARTER,COTONOU,BENIN REPUBLIC,AFRICA.
YOU HAVE BEEN COMPENSATED THE SUM OF $5,000000 BY WORLD BANK
The world Bank is compensating some citizens of every country the sum of five million United states dollar, ($5,000000).via email address in this Christmas due to the global economic meltdown of this year.This compensation was to be made to countries,but, due to the nature of nepotism, favoritism, tribalism ethnicityand corruption Â by leaders in some countries, we decide to program it via email address.So,If you receive this message in your inboxit means, you are one of the lucky individual to receive this offer via either western union, money-gram or through ATM cardPlease, do not expose your email address and password to a third party, to avoid wrong claim and violation of this program.
Your payment file and compensation fee had been giving to the western union for transfer.You can contact the western union directorMr, Jerry Smith through this email address on firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile number +22999239246, +22964501994
Summit all your necessary details to him includes your,
Your full name______Mobile Number______Email address______Your country______Your occupation______your age_______Your reference number_____ which is 504/DTC/448
Note: This details we be used to transfer your compensation fund to you.
Thanks,The director ofthis programMr Johnson Morgan