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. )
- "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. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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. Robert Smith" <"www."@mist.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: " Mr. Robert Smith" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 18:38:46 +0900 (JST)
Subject: your ATM card containing $15 million USD as ordered by director of
GOLDEN BANK Mrs Maria Jones.
My name is Mr. Robert Smith, the courier appointed to carryout delivery of your ATM card containing $15 million USD as ordered by director of GOLDEN BANK Mrs Maria Jones.
I guarantee you a successful delivery once I acknowledged your address however, the bank said they will authorize delivery of your card after you have paid the requested fee.
Please let me know once you send the fee ($260) so I can carryout delivery of your parcel ok. Here is the recipient address where to wire the fee via Western Union or Money Gram. Receivers Name: Jim Eze. Address: Porto-novo, Benin republic
Immediately you receive this message forward all your information to me ,your home address,cell phone number,and your full name .For us to proceed on you PARCEL within 24 hours. Waiting to hear from you!
Mr. Robert Smith
Cell: +1(778) 403-3734