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:
- 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. )
- "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. )
- 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.
- 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: patt butler <email@example.com>
Reply-To: patt butler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2014 21:36:25 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: IN REGARD TO YOUR ATM MASTER CREDIT CARD PACKAGE WITH U.P.S
Â IN REGARD TO YOUR ATM MASTER CREDIT CARD PACKAGE WITH U.P.S
I RECEIVED AN EMAIL ALERT FROM UPS IN REGARD TO YOUR PACKAGE WHICH HAVE BEEN WITH THEM FOR TWO WEEKS NOW AND THE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING AGENT IN CHARGE PLANNED TO RETURN YOUR PACKAGE TO THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE OF NIGERIA. THE TOTAL AMOUNT IN YOUR ATM MASTER CARD CONTAIN IS $10.5 MILLION USD AND THIS INCLUDE INTEREST RATE UP TILL DATE.THE MASTER CARD WAS PROGRAMMED TO HAVE ACCESS GLOBALLY WHICH YOU CAN MAKE WITHDRAW OR TRANSACTION IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD.
IT SEEMS YOU DON'T WANT TO SHOW ANY SERIOUSNESS TOWARDS THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR PACKAGE THAT WHY HE WANT TO RETURN IT AND HE NEED PERMISSION FROM ME FIRST BEFORE HE WILL RETURN THE PACKAGE. I ORDER HIM TO STOP AND I ALSO ASSURE HIM THAT I WILL MAKE SURE THE CHARGE FEE REQUIRED IS ENABLE THE SHIPMENT FEE WHICH IS $95 WILL BE PAID AND THIS WILL BE THE LAST FEE REQUIRED FROM YOU. IN REGARD TO YOUR ATM MASTER CARD PACKAGE WHICH WORTH $10.5 MILLION USD I WILL HELP YOU AND MAKE SURE YOU RECEIVE IT AND MY INVESTIGATION SHOWS YOU HAVE SPENT A LOT RECENTLY IN REGARD TO THIS PACKAGE AND THIS WILL BE THE LAST FEE.
REMEMBER YOU HAVE SPENT A LOT TOWARDS THIS PACKAGE ONCE THE CHARGE FEE REQUIRED NOW IS PAID SHIPMENT WILL COMMENCE AND YOU WILL RECOVER ALL YOU HAVE SPENT RECENTLY. THE CHARGE FEE REQUIRED NOW IS NOT MUCH SO YOU WILL BE ABLE TO AFFORD THE LAST FEE NEEDED WHICH IS $95 ONLY MY ADVICE TO YOU IS TO GO AHEAD AND SEND THE CHARGE FEE VIA WESTERN UNION. THE WESTERN UNION INFORMATION BELOW BELONG TO OZO DAVID, THE BRANCH MANAGER OF UPS INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING DEPARTMENT NIGERIA.
THIS IS THE INFO TO SEND THE $95 AS BELOW
RECEIVER NAME:OZO DAVID
TEXT QUESTION: OK
YOUR SHIPMENT WILL COMMENCE ONCE THE CHARGE FEE IS PAID TODAY. AND AS SOON AS YOU MADE THE PAYMENT GET BACK TO ME WITH THE SENDER NAME???? MTCN NUMBER???FULL SENDER ADDRESS USED:???TEXT QUESTION???ANSWER???? AWAIT YOUR REPLY AND REMEMBER SHIPMENT WILL COMMENCE TODAY AND IT WILL TAKE ONLY 26 HOURS TO GET THE PACKAGE SHIPPED TO YOU.
HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY
MRS PATT JOYCE BUTLER
EMAIL ME ON:email@example.com