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. )
- "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. )
- 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 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS.MARY MANGA-WEST" <"www."@ion.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "MRS.MARY MANGA-WEST" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:53:34 +0900 (JST)
Subject: WESTERN UNION DEPARTMENT HEAD OFFICE -( MTCN)
This is to inform you that after the meeting held in my office yesterday which consist between the United States Embassy and the United Nations, African
ECO-WAS, we have concluded that you will be compensated with all the money you have loosed in the hands of Africans and most especially BENIN REPUBLIC.
We have deposited the BANK DRAFT of your fund ($6.500`000`00 USD) through Western Union department after our finally meeting regarding your fund, All you
will do is to contact Western Union director Mr.Micheal Fidel,call him +229-9630 8895
He will give you direction on how you will be receiving the funds daily. Remember to send him your Full information to avoid wrong transfer such as,
1. Your Full name....................
2. Your home Address.................
3. Your telephone number.............
4. A copy of your ID.................
5. Your age/sex......................
6. Your occupation...................
7. Your country......................
Through ,Mrs. Rita David has sent $5000 in your name today so contact Mr.Micheal Fidel or you call him +229-6402 3598 as soon as you receive this email and
tell him to give you the Mtcn, sender name and question/answer to pick the $5000 Please let us know as soon as you received all your fund,