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:
- "moneygram" (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. )
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
Fraud email example:
From: Richard Maxwell <"WWW."@onyx.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: Richard Maxwell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2016 18:36:43 +0900 (JST)
The International Monetary Fund Annual Compensation from Economic Community Of West African State (ECOWAS)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is compensating some scam victims and your email address was found in the scam victims list. This MoneyGramÂ®office has been mandated by the IMF to transfer your compensation to you via MoneyGramÂ®Money Transfer.
However, we have concluded to affect your own payment through MoneyGramÂ®Money Transfer, $5,000 pay day until the total sum of $5.7 Million United States is completely transferred to you the receiver. We cannot be able to send the payment with your email address alone, we are hereby needed your information to where we will be sending the funds.
Here is the information to pick up your first payment of $5,000 through MoneyGram store close to you.
Money Reference Number (REF):17369582
Sender's First Name: Elliott
Sender's Last Name: Mazer
MTCN:#17369582 (Track the MTCN by visiting::::::::: https://secure.moneygram.com/track)
You Can Text or Call once you fill below Informati
(ID copy)............. ..................
NOTE: That your payment files will be returned to the IMF within 72hours if we
did not hear from you because this was the instruction given to us by the IMF
office here in Economic Community Of West African State (ECOWAS) . We will start the transfer as soon as we received
your information. You are hereby warned not to communicate or duplicate this
message for any reason what so ever because the EFCC is already on trace of
the criminals from Africa.
NOTICE: To text or call this office for any question.
Name: Mr. Richard Maxwell