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:
- "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. )
- "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. )
- "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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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 GEORGE EDWARDS <"mrgeroge1."@sweet.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: MR GEORGE EDWARDS <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2017 06:45:14 +0900 (JST)
Subject: MONEY GRAM SPECIAL BONUS
This message is from the money gram management worldwide. First we want to start with an apology to you our customer, please find a place in your heart to forgive us for the stop and delay of the transfer of your inheritance fund, we did this because of so many scams that was going on in the internet, and I believe you must have received many emails and calls telling you about this fund $4.500,000.00 on your name, that was because our website was hacked and exposed to scammers, and over ten million people has been a victim of this so called internet scams, but we are glad to announce to you that we will fix the problem very soon you will not hear anything like internet scams again.
The release of your fund was declared yesterday been Wednesday 8th of March 2017, by the money gram management with the original documents for clarifications and it was approved by the (IMF) Homeland security and the (FBI) which means you will be receiving your fund freely and safely with out any problem or harassment from your government. Due to the new rules, you will be receiving $4,000.00 daily from any Walmart office until the complete fund is transferred complete. $75 will be needed from you in advance for every transfer of $4,000.00 as the security charge, and 50% of the $55 goes to the charity.
Email us back at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
First payment of $4,000.00 has already be transferred on your name and will be release to you after the confirmation of the $55 from you. Below is the information to transfer the $55 to us for the release of your $4,000.00 payment today
Receiver name_______PAK MANNI
Email or call us with the Reference number as soon as the payment is done to enable us release the information for you to pick up your
first payment of $4,000.00 immediately.
Mr. James Brow