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. )
- "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. )
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- ",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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA NIGERIA <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2016 03:37:21 -0400
Subject: Message from Director process unit.
I am David Moore, director cash processing unit, united bank for Africa [UBA the only bank appointed by the O.AU. Members lead by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
Because of the frauds going on in West Africa countries where some innocent beneficiaries were asked to pay in advance before receiving their money owed to them. The above Africa union held meeting in Nigeria and resolve to pay all beneficiaries in cash through means of diplomatic courier service. We receive your files from international monetary fund (I.M.F.) as one of the beneficiaries.
Take note; three thousand united state dollars (usd$3,000) have been mapped out for all expenses in taxes and other documents that matters. Therefore, I want you to bear it in mind that your total fund will be no more one million five hundred thousand united state dollars ($1,500,000.00) but One million four hundred and ninety seven thousand united state dollars ($1.497,000.00).
If anybody tells you that he is paying you in bank draft or telegraphic money transfer both western union and money gram, do not listen to him or her because due to this frauds no international bank honors our remittance instruction any more that is why we settled to pay in cash through courier
We also received a security report that you paid the fraudsters who have been deceiving you, telling you that they are going to send this money to you. Dear as a senior banker, controlling this cash payment now, I advise you not to waste your money by paying any body in advance again, and if you just follow my instruction, you will receive your money in three days time.
Your fund will now be packaged in box and take to the diplomatic courier service for immediate shipment, I will also send the picture of the box by attachment to you to see how the money is packed, and I will send you more mails to give you more information for you to know the genuineness of this transaction.
Therefore, do forward your home address and direct phone number to me for quick delivery because time is not in our side.
All the documents will be sent to you if I am assured that you have stopped sending money to those fraudsters.
Am waiting to hear from you with the required information of yours.
Director cash processing unit
united bank for Africa. (U.B.A).