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. )
- "million united state dollars" (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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: MR TONY RICHARD <"www."@bronze.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: MR TONY RICHARD <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 9 Sep 2017 04:53:39 +0900 (JST)
Subject: YOUR URGENT REPLY NEEDED
GOOD DAY !
This is to officially informed you that your fund has been Deposited and
concluded arrangement to effect your payment of $2.500,000.00 million United
State Dollars through Western Union Swift Money transfer services today, but
the maximum amount you will be receiving every day starting from tomorrow is
$5,000.00 as reflected in our transfer system daily until the funds is
This special arrangement is being used to avoid all scrupulous demand by both
the states and federal authorities that have previously delayed your payment
till date; we shall need your maximum co-operation to ensure that strictness
and confidence is maintained to avoid any further delays. You are to discard
any request asking you to send money to any agency such as courier company,
and security Agency as there are no such and any money committed their will be
regret, so be wise.
Please contact the Accredited Western Union Agent for the details of your first
payment of $5,000United State Dollars and reconfirm your correct details that
you will like the first transfer to be program with such as Receivers Name,
destination where you will like the transfer to be send to and your cell phone
number for urgent communication if the need arise.
Fill your details below for reference purpose:
COPY OF ID CARD: .........
Remember your obligation to secure an international Remittance for as stated in
United Nation act of (FRT209) that will help build and renew your transfer file
for record keeping as a way of checkmating the present Economies crisis
situations. Contact the below Electronic Transfer unit of Western Union for
immediate programing of your first transfer on here:
Mr Jerry Dunga