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. )
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Peter Jim" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mr.Peter Jim" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2014 09:03:11 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONTACT THE WESTERN UNION FOR YOUR PAYMENT?
Â Dear Good Friend Greetings!,Â We have concluded yesterday with the governor of Eco bank here inÂ Benin republic that you should start receiving your payment of $1.2Â Million USD through western union money transfer from tomorrow,But you will be receiving $5000 usd only per a day,Â so you are advice to contact the western union operator Rev.John Mark, Right now contact him andÂ re-confirm your information to him right away so that he will send youÂ your money control number of your first payment of $5000 for you to pickÂ it up in any western union around you.Here is there information:
Name Rev John Markemail (firstname.lastname@example.org)His phone +229 6882 2456
And also here is the informations you need to send to him,Your receiver's name................Your country code................Your telephone number..............
All this informations is to avoid sending your money to wrong person,Yours in service,Mr.Peter Jim