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:
- "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. )
- "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.
- 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.GERALD" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "MR.GERALD" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:29:19 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: GOOD DAY, THIS MR.MR.GERALD FROM ECO BANK,
Â GOOD DAY, THIS MR.MR.GERALD FROM ECO BANK,
I CAME TO MY HEAD OFFICE MEETING JUST NOW SIMPLE BECAUSE OF THIS YOUR FUNDS DELIVERY AND THE DELIVERY AGENT MR DONALD PARKER IS STILL WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU WITH THE NEEDED FEE THAT STILL DELAYING THE DELIVERY OF THIS YOUR FUNDS AND YOU HAVE TO CALL MR DONALD PARKER THE DELIVERY AGENT RIGHT NOW AND LET HIM KNOW IF THE FEE HAVE BEEN SEND BECAUSE HE IS WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON WITH THE FEE TO ENABLE HIM COMPLETE THIS DELIVERY TODAY.
SECONDLY WE HAVE TRY BY MAKE A CHANCE OF HELP BY YOUR UNABLE TO COME YOU WITH THE TOTAL FEE THEN YOU CONTACT ME AND LET ME KNOW HOW MUCH YOU TO ENABLE US KNOW HOW MUCH TO HELP YOU OUT WITH AND YOU TO CONTACT ME RIGHT NOW WITH THE AMOUNT YOU CAN BE TO SEND, I HOPE YOU KNOW HOW LONG THIS FUNDS HAVE BEEN THERE SIMPLE BECAUSE OF THE FEE CHARGE AND YOU CAN NOT TAKE BECAUSE OF THIS FEE AND LOSE YOUR THREE MILLIONS SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS $3.6MILLIONS SO THINK ABOUT THAT AND I AM NOT PLEADING YOU TO HAVE WHAT BELONGS TO YOU BECAUSE IT IS YOUR RIGHT.
CALL HIM NOW OR EMAIL HIMÂ firstname.lastname@example.org. LET ME KNOW THE AMOUNT YOU CAN BE ABLE TO SEND TODAY FROM $85 UP TO 200 ANY AMOUNT YOU SEND WE CAN TRANSFER THE FUNDS..
IF YOU HAVEÂ FORGET THE ADDRESS TO SEND THE FEE HERE IS IT, BELOW ARE THE RECEIVER DETAILS,
RECEIVER NAME======= WILLIAMS CHIMA