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. )
- "million us dollars" (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)
- "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 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: "Mr. John Atang" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2016 01:23:58 +0100
Western Union?Welcome to Western Union
Send Money Worldwide
Welcome to Western Union Money Transfer Agent, We wish to inform you that the IMF have release your fund sum of $1,8 million US dollars issued on your name the money was deposited with us in this Office as MTCN credit card, we shall be sending the money to you everyday $5,000.00usd until we complete the total payment.
We are very glad to inform you that we have processed your first payment of $5,000.00usd, but bare it in mind that the $5,000.00usd will not be given to you except you pay for service charges which is $225.00, you have to pay the money through our service western union to the information we give you here, then after confirming the payment of $225.00 from you, we shall release your first $5,000.00usd to enable you pick it up and get back to us for the second payment,As you can see here is the MTCN Number of your first payment which we credited for you today, track it with our website: www.westernunion.com, to confirm that your payment is available.
1)Senders Name:: Holly Waldon
2)MTCN Number::: 7298423178
3)Amount::: $5000.00 USD.
Track it with our website: https://wumt.westernunion.com/asp/orderStatus.asp?country=CN or you can call this number to confrim the payment of the MTCN Tel: 1-800-325-6000
Note that on your reply to this massage make sure you send the full information Remember that the full details you can use to pick up this first payment will be send to you once we receive the transfer charge of $225.00, You have to treat this matter urgent by reconfirming your full information to us immediately you receive this massage to enable us start the process of your payment immediately.
1.Your Full Name...
3.Your Tel Number....
These are the information about your money you can go to any western union to pick up the money, don't forget that you have to settle for the transfer charge before we can give the full information of your first payment of $5,000.00 usd we are waiting to receive the above information from your so that we can direct you where to send the transfer charge of $225.00 which is only the delay now, Kindly use this information to send the transfer charge.
Receiver Name: Jude Ike
Test Question: Code.
Test Answer: urgent.
Amount to send: $225.00.
We looks forward to receive the transfer charge together with your full information, to enable us release this first $5,000.00usd for you to pick it up and get back to us for the second payment ok.
Get Back ASAP.
Yours in service
Mr. John Atang
Western Union Manager