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:
- "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. )
- "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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.FRANK JAMES." <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mr.FRANK JAMES." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:41:19 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Dear Customer
Â Good day.
Your first payment of $5,000.00 was sent call Mr. James Ike +229-97568974 to give you the MG Reference Number# email;( email@example.com) Send him the transfer charges $55.00 only your total amount in his office is $4.8million usd only. Here is the information you will use to send him the transfer charges $55.00 Thanks and God bless.
Receivers name;----Mr. James IkelAmount;---------$55.00 onlyCountry;---------------Benin RepublicCity of resident;----CotonouTest question;---In GodAnswer;----We TrustRef#--------------Senders name;-----------------Senders country;-------------------
Try and send him the transfer charges today to enable him release your first installment of $5000.00 the same today OKAY.
Best RegardsMr.FRANK JAMES.