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. )
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr.Adam J. Szubin." (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:14:30 -0700
I am Adam J. Szubin, immediate past Secretary of the Treasury under the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
At a meeting with the World Bank, Ecowas and the United Nations while i was still in Office, an agreement was reached between three parties for us to compensate all B2B and Individual scammed victims. This letter, which is to notify you about your compensation as one of the scammed victim that sent money via Bank Transfer; Western Union Money Transfer, Ria or Money Gram to fraudsters, ought to have been sent to you before now but for United States leadership transition bottleneck. This email is to officially notify you that you have been listed as one of the beneficiaries to benefit from this ongoing "SCAM VICTIM COMPENSATION BENEFITS" (SVCB).
Please be informed that your PAYMENT REFERENCE CODE IS: WFSC/07735, and is to be quoted in your correspondence. For claim, you are advice to contact;
SVCB OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT,
Email: ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
CONTACT PERSON: Mr. Joe Andrew
With your details as below for easy processing and payment release to the tune of $2,200,000:
1.. Full Name:
2. Phone Number:
Feel free to email me should you require more clarification or my attention at any point.. Apologies for my delay in relaying this information.
Dr.Adam J. Szubin.