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:
- "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. )
- "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. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr.Frank Adam <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2016 03:23:04 -0700
Subject: RECOVERY OF YOUR LOST MONEY
FROM INTERNATIONAL POLICE UNIT,
REGARDING RECOVERY OF YOUR LOST MONEY.
This message from international police unit assigned to United Nation organization in London,Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria to investigate Banks and WESTERN UNION/Money Gram for unreleased payments. In the course of recently concluded 2014 and 2015 investigations, we arrested suspected fraudsters.
several investigations and research has been done in Western Union/Money Gram, we found your name in Western Union database among those that have sent money to above mentioned names through Western Union/Money Gram
The above information has proves that you have truly been a victim of scam by those unscrupulous person by sending money to him through Western Union and bank account in the course of getting your approved fund, right now we are working hand in hand with Western Union to track every fraudsters down.
>From our investigation, we discovered that you have lost lots of money, which includes money borrowed from friends to fulfill your financial obligation with these criminals. We also discovered that a lot of names have contacted you and they claimed to be YOUR PARTNERS AND FRIENDS IN BUSINESS. They used your money and do away with it. Though they are now on the run but they might be writing you from hiding due to mobile internet services.
Please we want to know how much you send to them to enable us include it in the money we are proposing to return to you immediately. They are the people that told you series of endless sweet good stories we gave you all these evidence to enable you know we have first class information of what you did with them and we need your absolute cooperation to enable us recover your fund and send it back to you to enable you reposition's your damaged financial life.
We have seized the properties of these men that were on the run and have submitted their properties to government for auction sales to enable us recover your fund, but this will be possible if we hear from you to enable us advise you on how to apply for recovery of your fund and if possible give us more details that will help us to arrest them. PLEASE DO NOT DISCLOSE THIS EMAIL TO THEM TO ENABLE US ARREST THEM. DO NOT INFORM THEM, JUST MAINTAIN REGULAR CORRESPONDENCE WITH US AND ALWAYS UPDATE ME ANYTIME THEY WRITE YOU.
If you are still alive get back us Immediately so that all the money you spent in the hands of those swindlers will be return back to you without any delay.
Your urgent response is needed now