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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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. )
- "million united state dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "hundred thousand united state dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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:
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 17:00:23 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Western Union: Award Wining Message!
Â YOUâRE WINNING FILENUMBER(/SA/6669/2014).
A Division of financial Service provider.
Our Ref: WUG/UK/009/2014).
We are making our 159th beginning of the year Anniversary 2014; we rolled out over USD$16, 000, 000, 00 (Sixteen Million United State Dollars) for our 158th Anniversary draws. All participants were selected through computer ballot system drawn from 25,000,00 company email address, and 30,000,00 individual email address from over 40 networks from Australia, new Zealand, North America, South America Europe, all Asia and Africa as part of International promotion held in Central District FCT Abuja Nigeria..
We officially Announce to you that your email address has just Won the sum of USD$600, 000, 00 (Six Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) by the Western Union Group, as one of our customers who uses Western Union regularly.This award was selected through automated internet system drawn randomly across the globe,where your e-mail address emerged as the lucky winner.. to begin the verification process of your prize; you are required to forward your bank account details to the transferring manager.
The Claim Transferring Agent Contact Details as Fellow:
Name: Mr. Steven Reed
You should establish contact with redeeming transferring manager via email or telephone with the particulars presented bellow for immediate payment to your bank account; please remember to quote your winning file number and your winning transferring identification code in your correspondence to him.
1. Bank Name:
3. Account Number:
4. Bank Address:
5. Swift Code or Routing Number:
6. Your Mobile Telephone Number:
7. Date of Birth:
You will be contacted by western union transferring manager in the nest 24hours as soon as you forwarded your required bank account information to him for the transfer.
Save time, send money, earn rewards! Western Union is a service people trust.
YOUR WINNING TRASFER IDENTIFICATION CODE (WUNT/768/SA/)
For enquiries, please call Contact Center on +2348161-337-883
Thank You For Using Western Union!