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:
- 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. )
- 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 (Yahoo, Taiwan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
"Mr. Frank Ashley, From Government Office Payment" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Mr. Frank Ashley, From Government Office Payment" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2014 17:04:40 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: YOUR FIRST $4,500.00 WITH FILE# KGU/8020182590 HAS BEEN SENT TO YOU
Â YOUR FIRST $4,500.00 WITH FILE# KGU/8020182590 HAS BEEN SENT TO YOU TODAY
Attention: The Owner of this email Address,
There is an issue with the WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER in the amount of $950,000 USD directed in cash credited to file # KGU/8020182590, at the owner of this email address. While My Working Partner Has Helps Me To Transfer Your First $4,500.00 To You Through Our Western Union Department Office. So Contact Western Union Agent And Ask Him How Much Charge You Need To Send Before You Will Be Picking Up Your First $4,500 Sending To You Now:
Contact person: Mr. Peter Williams
Ask him to give you the m t c n, sender's name, to pick the $4,500.00. I told him to keep sending you $4,500.00 daily till the payment of $950,000.00 is completed. Again forward him your Full Name, Telephone number and Address so that he will be sure.
Then Contact Him With Your Full Information:
Your Phone number:_____________
Thanks, Mr. Frank Ashley,
>From Government Office Payment