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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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. )
- "million 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)
- 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. Williams Paul" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mr. Williams Paul" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:58:51 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: WESTERN UNION OFFICE MONEY TRANSFER UNTHER WALRD BANK P.L.C
Â WESTERN UNION OFFICE MONEY TRANSFER UNTHER WALRD BANK P.L.C
Email: ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Hello My Dear,
How are you today? Hope all is well with you. I am Emailing to inform you that the reason why you did not receive your $10.5M USD for a while is that we lost your contact and it was on Friday morning last week that we found your payment form in our office and from there we got your email address to reach you now.
After the last meeting held with the Federal Ministry of Finance concerning this matter, The Finance Minister gave order to transfer your fund through Western Union money transfer $5000.00 2 times per day that means you will be receiving $10,000.00 each day until you receive your total $10.5Million dollars complete, the fund was handed over to the Western Union Office this morning to start transferring your fund immediately with immediate effect. Note that you will be receiving $10,000.00 each day and your first payment of $5000.00 will be send to you at 9:30am morning, to enable you meet up and pick your second payment at 5:pm in the evening time in your country.
Below is the information to contact Western Union office and you Ask him what you need to do to activate your account for the daily pick up of your first payment and you are advised to contact thim immediately once you receive this email and also reconfirm your information to thim so that he will activate your account and release the necessary information for you to receive your first payment without making any mistake on it okay,
Contact Person Mr. Williams Paul,
Emai( email@example.com )
Note that the administrator payment needs these details from you to process your payment:
Your.Receiver first Name-------------
and receive last Name----------------------
Your. Phone Number--------------
Your. Test question----------------------
Your. Passport -----------------------
Comply with Mr. Williams Paul, now because as soon as you sent this required details to him, he will start sending your payment by Western Union, Call or send SMS to; +229-974-275-78