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:
- "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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Director MoneyGram" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 23:01:33 -0200 (BRST)
Subject: Kind Attention
Address. Rue BMB 113 Akpakpa senade cotonou Benin Republic West Africa.
Telephone. +229 67971784.
I resumed work recently in this office as director of money gram
transfer office Benin
republic,This is to inform you that we want to start sending your
fund of $200,000.00USD
that is in this office since and you can only be receiving two times
daily from us through
your payment file, note that you will pay $95 only for
re-activation of your payment file
that back up your fund before you can receive your first payment.
We have made today's payment for you via MONEY GRAM:Below is the
number:62272243,But you have to pay $95 for activation of your
payment file before you can
be able to pick up this first payment of $2500 today.So kindly visit
your nearest MONEY GRAM
office at your area and send the $95 with the below information to
enable you pick up your
first payment today.
Sender name= Mrs Maria Shabangu
Ref number #=62272243
Below is the information where to send the $95
Receiver name:John Uju
Country: Benin Republic
Waiting to hear from you soon for the release of the other payment
Mrs Maria Shabangu
Director Money Gram