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:
- "stamp duty" (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. )
- "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. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "abuja" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2015 09:18:03 +0200
Subject: ---YOUR FIRST $10,000
I wish to inform you that I have conducted an audit on Western Union
Money Transfer account as the newly elected Auditor General. However,
during our last week accounting and auditing the total sum of
$1,500,000.00 were discovered which has been approved in your name but
still unpaid. Please write down your real and correct name, address and
phone number carefully and completely which is the necessary details
needed to ensure your claim goes out smoothly. At Western Union, we are
committed to helping people and businesses by providing affordable,
reliable and convenient payment services. We have processed your payment
and you will be receiving $10,000 on daily basics, your first $10,000
will be available within 59mins after the fundamental procedures must
have been concluded. Actually this payment has been approved in your
favor but not fully endorsed, so fully endorsement required (Claimant
Affidavit) at our High Court Probate Division for the release of this
sum of money to you as the sole beneficiary. In order to help us serve
you better and expeditiously, you are expected to send the (endorsement
stamp duty) of $48 through western union to the below name:
Receiver: =Bob Nze
Once we confirm the (endorsement stamp duty) fee of $48, the first
$10,000 will be paid in your name within 59mins. At Western Union, our
goal is to make our customers' lives a little better and meet their
needs with a variety of products and services. I look forward to the
pleasure of your kind favourable response fairly soon, in the meantime
with kindest regards and best wishes.
Western union money transfer
Tel +234 908 109 8889