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. )
- "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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "WESTERN UNION" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2017 17:46:51 -0400
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS FROM WESTERN UNION HOLDINGS !!!
WESTERN UNION FOUNDATION-UNITED STATE
Western Union Foundation Grants 2017:
[HEAD OFFICE] NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATE
" DEAR WESTERN UNION CUSTOMER "
YOU HAVE BEEN AWARDED $400,000.00 USD BY THE WESTERN UNION FOUNDATION USA ALONG SIDE WITH 2 OTHER WESTERN UNION USERS WORLDWIDE, WHO HAS BEEN USING WESTERN UNION SERVICES IN SENDING MONEY TO FRIENDS,RELATIVES/FAMILY OR BUSINESS PURPOSE.
YOU WILL BE ISSUED AND SENT A WESTERN UNION MONEY WISE VISA CARD WORTH $400,000.00 USD:
NOTE: The Delivery/Courier Of Your WESTERN UNION MONEY WISE VISA CARD is FREE !
Your Reference No: WUF/MY97715/400BQMY
For More DETAILS, Please Contact:
Name: Mr.Roland Wise
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office LinesSend SMS: (347) 635-5764
CONGRATULATIONS FROM WESTERN UNION HOLDINGS !!!
© 2014 Western Union Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.