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. )
- "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. )
- "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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (163; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2017 01:56:54 -0700
Subject: Your Funds Pick Up Details,
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
FOREIGN CONTRACTOR PAYMENT OFFICE
Corporate Contact Information
12500 E. Bel-ford Avenue
Greenwood, CO 80112, USA
+1 832 371 6770
Good Day Beneficiary:
I write to inform you that we have been given the mandate to transfer your funds for the Quota year Compensation amount of $600,000.00 (Six Hundred Thousand Dollars) via western Union by this government to you.
We tried to give you the Western Union Instructions through phone, but we could not locate your numbers in our database to reach you last week even as at this morning, So I decided to email you the MTCN and Sender Names so that you can pick up the $5,000.00 to enable us send another $5,000.00 bytomorrowas you knows we will be sending you only $5,000.00 per day. In this process we shall be sending the complete amount in $600,000.00 (Six Hundred Thousand Dollars)in 120 Days, because we can only send out $5,000.00 per day.
Please pick up this information and run to any western union in your country to pick up the $5,000.00 and get back to us to enable us send you the details of the next wire of the $5,000.00.
Once you have picked up the first wire, kindly contact this Officer in charge for the next wire, In order to proceed on this process, bellow are the details of the of your first pick up, Here is the western union pick up information of the $5,000.00 USD.
PICK UP INFORMATION BELLOW:
MTCN : 633-670-6150
Sender's Name: LOPEZ CARLOS
Your swift response is awaited with regards to this notification, you can call me on phone bellow
Mr. Alfred Marshall.
Wu Online Coordinator.