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:
- "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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: MONEYGRAM OFFICE <email@example.com>
Reply-To: MONEYGRAM OFFICE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 02:26:39 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: RE: DEAR CUSTOMER WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO LOSE YOUR FUND?
Â Read carefully, Reply to Email: email@example.com
The (IMF) International Monetary Fund IMF is compensating all the scam victims $2.5 Million Dollar USD,and your email address was found in the scam victim's list.This Money gram office has been mandated by the IMF to transfer your compensation to you via money gram Transfer.email ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Call Mr Dominic Ego +229 96 72 65 92 immediately you get this mail to enable him speed up your payment immediately to released $7000 Usd Reference to you and pick up the first payment.
we need the below details from you, to enable us place the payment to
your name and transfer the fund to you.
(Full Receivers name ): ...........
(Your Country): ...................
(Phone Number): ...................
(Your Age): .......................
A COPY OF YOUR ID/ PICTURE: .......
Note that your payment files will be returned to the IMF within 72 hours if we did not hear from you,this was the instruction given to us by the IMF email ( email@example.com ).
Mr Dominic Ego
+229 96 72 65 92
RE: DEAR CUSTOMER WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO LOSE YOUR FUND?