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:
- "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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: MONEY GRAM <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: MONEY GRAM <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2015 19:01:02 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: YOUR FIRST PAYMENT OF FIVE THOUSAND US DOLLARS THROUGH MONEY GRAM
Â money gram
Welcome to money gram transfer Worldwide
Attn Customer ,
There is an issue with money gram involving $800,000.00 which was called to this office by International Monetary Fund(I.M.F).An instruction has come directly from Mr.Jona Akim(the senior officer in charge in International Monetary Fund Benin Republic).He asked us to start sending your fund installmentally $5000 per a day.This type of transfer means you will be recieving $5000 everyday through money gram till you recieve your whole compensated fund of $800,000.00. In further arrangement,we have programmed the transaction with a clear calculation and decided to inform you before the commenceation of it all.To enable us send to right person,you are then advised to get back to us stating clearly to recornfirm the below information:
1.Your full name
2.Your full address
3.The correct spelling of your city and country
4.The test question and answer you will like us to use for the transfer.
5.Your direct telephone number to call you whenever a payment is sent.
As soon as the above information are recieved by this office,We will quickly send you the first installment and wait for you to recieve it and inform us as we continue with the transaction till you recieve the whole of your compensated fund of $800,000.00.You are then to send the above requested information to the money gram director in charge of your payments using the information below.
Name: Dr. Jose Malam, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]
best regards mrs.Marryane