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:
- "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. )
- "million united states 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Money Gram Office " <"www."@true.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "Money Gram Office " <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2017 06:50:18 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Hello Dear
This e-mail is to inform you that we the International Bank for
Reconstruction & Development (IBRD World Bank) had meeting with the
United Nations & Benin Republic Government representative regarding
the payment of your long awaited fund and we had an agreement with
them that the remittance of your fund should be carried out through
You have been approved to be paid Two Million United States Dollars
($2,000.000.00 U.S.D) only. Your fund of Two Million United States
Dollars has been forwarded to Money Gram Payment Center for immediate
transfer to you. Your payment will be sent to you by Money Gram, the
amount you will receive per day is $7,500usd (Seven thousand Five
Hundred Dollars Per Day )The Director Money Gram Payment Center of
Benin Republic will send you the current standards track details you
need to pick up your $7,500usd payment by Money Gram,
You will receive every day till you receive the $2.000, 000.00 United
State Dollars, through this Money Gram which is safe and reliable with
The Director Money Gram Payment Center has already signed your
payment, now you are free to comply with Money Gram payment office.
Director//: Mr. William Gold
The Money Gram Payment Center has been mandated to issue out your
payment and you have to stop any further communication with any other
person(s) or office(s) to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment.
Note that the Director payment needs these details from you to process
(1) Receivers Full Names.................
(4) Txt Question..............
(5) Txt Answer..............
(6) Mobile Phone...............
Comply now because as soon as you sent this required details to
Mr. William Gold he will start sending your payment by Money Gram. And do
let me know immediately you start receiving your money for us to share
the joy together.
Secretary of publicity for and on behalf:
IBRD World Bank
Portnovo, Republic Du'Benin