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. )
- "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 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS.SUSAN DAVID." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "MRS.SUSAN DAVID." <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 16:29:01 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: YOUR FIRST PAYMENT HAS BEEN SENT!!!.
Â GOOD DAY AND MY GREETINGS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.. WE HAVE CONCLUDED TO EFFECT YOUR PAYMENT THROUGH (WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER) AND $8,000.00 WILL BE SENT DAILY TO YOU UNTIL THE $3.6MILLION IS COMPLETELY TRANSFERRED.
THOUGH, REV.MIKE EDWARD SENT $8,000.00 IN YOUR NAME TODAY, SO CONTACT WESTERN UNION AGENT AND REQUIRE FROM HIM TO GIVE YOU THE MTCN, SENDER'S NAME AND QUESTION/ANSWER TO PICK THE $8,000.00 HAS FIRST PAYMENT OUT OF YOUR $3.6MILLION.
HERE IS THE DETAILS OF THE INFORMATION NEEDED FROM YOU:
MAILING ADDRESS: _______
PASSPORT BY ATTACH OR DRIVER'S LICENSE NUMBER.______
THEY WILL BE SENDING USD$8,000.00 PER DAY ONCE YOUR PAYMENT FILE IS ACTIVATED. CONTACT BENIN WESTERN UNION PAYMENT DEPARTMENT UNIT BELOW:
DIRECTOR NAME:REV.MIKE EDWARD.
OFFICE LINE:(+229)-9807 4957