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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- 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: "Mrs.Sharon Thompson" <"WWW."@io.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "Mrs.Sharon Thompson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2017 00:42:11 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Your first payment of $9000.00Usd has been sent via money gram
This is to inform you that your Fund ($23.500`000`00USD) has Approved to
Release via Money Gram Office after our finally meeting with IMF Concern
overdue your fund.All you will do is to Contact Money Gram Director Rev.JOHN
William via Email;(email@example.com) He will give you Direction on how you will be
Receiving Your Funds Daily. Remember to send him your Full information to avoid
wrong transfer such as,
Your Receiver Name;--------------
Your Phone Tell;----------------
Your Test Question;--------------
Your Test Answer;----------------
Your Copy of your ID CARD OR Passport;---
Note, Rev.John William has sent You $9000 in your name today so Contact Rev.
john William or you call him On Phone Call +229-68358800 as soon as you
Receive this email and tell him to give you Reference number of $9000, sender
name to pick up the $9000, Please let us know as soon as you received all your
Your first payment of $9000.00Usd has been sent via money gram