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:
- "moneygram" (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 states 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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: MoneyGram United Kingdom <email@example.com>
Reply-To: MoneyGram United Kingdom <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:52:04 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Your Daily Payment NOTIFICATION
Â MoneyGram International Limited
First Floor, Senator House, 85 Queen Victoria Street,
London EC4V 4AB, United Kingdom
Dear Lottery Winner,
This is to inform you that your Two Million United States Dollars ($2M) Lottery Win will be send to you via MoneyGram International Money Transfer, unless you want complete payment at a time by bank draft or ATM Card which is also acceptable by the organizers of this payment. The total amount mentioned above is with MoneyGram International Outlet in Cotonou, Benin Republic where your payment is allocated.
These funds came to MoneyGram International from WORLD LOTTERY ASSOCIATION (WLA) who said that some time in the past, they had a draw and notified all winners then and have them paid but at that time, some winners did not show up to claim theirs which was blamed at the payment method then, so they now decided to use MoneyGram International Money Transfer to pay these people which you are one of them.
Although some in your category claim they did not receive the notification then which we think must be the same in your case. Note that you will be receiving Five Thousand United States Dollars ($5,000.00) every day until the total amount is transferred unless you decide to receive the payment by bank draft or ATM Card all at a time.
To receive payment, contact by email or phone (Frank Webb) the MoneyGram International Payment supervisor and ask him to give you the Coded Number you need to pick up the first $5,000.00 today which is after you have send him your revenue TAX. Email Mr. Frank Webb now and ask him to give you the Reference Number and every other information you need to pick up your $5,000.00 now, here is what he will require from you:
Your Receiving Name...
Your Receiving Address...
Note: The only money you will send to him is that country's revenue TAX on foreign transactions which normally cost between $35 to $990 U.S. Dollars; depending on your location, and he will need this amount before your first Reference number will be issued officially in the MoneyGram International network and then given to you-which means no deducting of winning funds until complete claim, contact him now on this address: ( email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org ) contact person Frank Webb, (IMPORTANT) Winners are mandated to keep this notification private/secret to avoid fraudulent claim pending the transfer/claim by Winner.
Mrs. Margret Wright