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:
- "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. )
- "his direct line" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "MRS IFEOMA ONUKWU" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:28:58 +0100
Subject: MONEY TRANSFER
MONEY GRAM MONEY TRANSFER
ATTENTION PLEASE BENEFIT OF YOUR HONESTY
THE GOVERNMENTS Resolved that your overdue funds, Has released on a special method of paying you by MONEY GRAM MONEY TRANSFER .Which shall be transferring to you on an installmental bases of $10,000 per each day untill the whole $7.5M is completely transferred to you . You are now charged to reconfirm your drawee details such as.
Phone number .........
Send the required details to DR JOHN SMITH at(email@example.com)
and call him on his direct line +229-68504673.
They shall supply you with withdrawal information below.
1)Reference number which will be 8 digit number
2)Text questions and answer
Do report to this commission as soon as you withdraw your first and second payments .
Best Regards ..
MRS IFEOMA ONUKWU ( Activist)
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION.