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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" scams)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Johnson Chinedu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Johnson Chinedu <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2014 13:04:10 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: GOOD NEWS
Â Attn: Sir/Madam
How are you today? I want to inform you that the charge demanded by the ATM Department to download the funds($1,500,000) into the ATM card and ship it to your home address which is bringing delay to the deliverying of the card to you since has now been raised.
I have been since trying to complete the fee for you because I know you will compensate me when you received the funds . I went to my uncle and borrowed the sum of $140 out of the $225 demanded by the ATM Dept of the HSBC Bank Plc. Now I will like you to send the remaining $85 so that I will complete the charge and get the department paid so that they will download the funds into the card and give you the ATM Pincode for withdrawal of the funds in any ATM Machine Worldwide.
Below isÂ the western union informations where you will send the $85 to. The Director of the ATM Department said that you will be receiving $10,000 everyday until the total funds finished.
Receivers name: EZANNIA CHILOKWU
Country: Benin Republic
Text Question: What color
Note: You are adviced to include your full name, Home address and your telephone number where they will deliver the card to you. Do contact us via (firstname.lastname@example.org) Or call at +22998174075.
Mr. Johnson Chinedu