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:
- 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. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: ST.JOHN <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2016 06:32:26 -0300
Subject: ST.JOHN CATHOLIC CHURCH
ST.JOHN CATHOLIC CHURCH
CONTACT ME HERE firstname.lastname@example.org
May the Peace of Lord be with you,this message is from St.John Catholic Church Ouagadougou,Burkina Faso,
I am writing on behalf of Mr Lucien Marie Noël Bembamba to inform you that your outstanding payment of the sum of $850,000,00(Eight Hundred and fifty thousand dollars)mean't to be transfered to you since 2 years ago which was not carried out has been instructed for immediate release by the Ministere de l'economie et des finances (M.E.F)Government of Burkina Faso.
This fund was deposited to my care by one of my church member who is Ministere de l'economie et des finance Mr.Lucien Marie Noël Bembamba before he travelled to France and he directed me to help him get the fund to you after several attempt to release the fund to you by diplomatic transfer,western union money transfer and atm card which failed.
Every arrangement has been concluded to release the fund to you without any further
hitches,I need your residential address,telephone/mobile number and a copy of your ID card for proper documentation and to enable me make arrangement for the delivery with the
courier company or by bank transfer CONTACT ME HERE email@example.com
God Bless you!
Rev.Father Ziniare Kibare Catholic Priest