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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 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.
- 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: "FOREIGN OPERATION MANAGER" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 7 Nov 2015 10:14:55 -0800
Subject: Attention:YOUR FUNDS AS BEEN RELEASED
This is to notify you about the latest development concerning all the payment that is left in our custody in which yours are inclusive, you were given a bill of $450.00 in order to receive your payment of which we didnt hear from you for some time now.Hence, our Western Union is now offering a special BONUS to help all our customers that are having their payment in our custody. In order words we are now requesting that those involve should pay only the sum of $225.00 to receive all their payment abandoned in our custody.
Besides this is an opportunity for you of which you are to comply and your funds shall be transferred to your designated address. But remember after (3DAYS) you dont make the payment, then we will divert your funds to Government Fund to avoid problem or we shall cancel the payment for this year until next year because this year is not like previous year. Again after (3DAYS) we shall commence a new project for the year and that is the reason why we decided to help all our customers before the new project begins.
We advise you make the payment of $225.00 immediately so your payment can be registered for you to receive $5,000 as from tomorrow.
Be advice that there is no time again for us to call any person on phone unless you call +234-7063-0249-05, E-mail
(email@example.com) After the payment of $225.00 you will start receiving your money every day $5,000 through Western Union, Send the money through Western Union Money Transfer with the information below:
Receiver's name: mogoli godspower
Country: Lagos Nigeria.
Text Question: urgent
Text Answer: urgent
The moment i receive the payment of $225.00,I will instruct the bank to activate the acoout in which the said fund is been deposited before it can be sent to you via western union i will release the first payment information of $5,000 to you, to access you pick up the money and also another will be sent to you,hope to hear from you ASAP.
MR WESLEY PETERS.
FOREIGN OPERATION MANAGER
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