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. )
- "abuja" (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.
- 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 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: "ALEX PARKER" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2019 09:23:53 -0700
Subject: REF: REPORT
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
PLOT 681, AMINU KANO CRESCENT,
ABUJA, FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, NIGERIA
NEW MANAGER : MR. ALEX PARKER
PHONE LINE : +2348148128407
MY NAME IS MR. ALEX PARKER I AM THE NEWLY ELECTED DIRECTOR GENERAL OF WESTERN UNION OFFICE ABUJA,NIGERIA. I HAVE BEEN CHOSEN FEW WEEKS AGO. I AM ACTUALLY WRITING THIS MAIL TO YOU IN PERSON TO PLEAD WITH YOU FOR THE DELAY YOU MUST HAVE EXPERIENCED WITH THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION, CONCERNING YOUR FUND NOT BEING SENT TO YOU. I ACTUALLY SAW YOUR NAME IN OUR FILE YESTERDAY THROUGH MY SEARCHING AS ONE OF THE BENEFICIARY WHO DID NOT RECEIVE THEIR FUND VALUED ($3.5 MILLIONS USD) WHICH SUPPOSES TO BE TRANSFERRING AT THE RATE OF $5,000.00 PER DAY DURING THE FORMER MANAGER REGIME.
I AM WRITING TO LET YOU KNOW THAT THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN RECEIVE YOUR FUND IS BY FOLLOWING SIMPLY LEGITIMATE INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO US BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THIS COUNTRY. THIS WILL HELP YOU AVOID ANY DELAY OF YOUR FUND AS YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED IN THE PAST. SO RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE ARRANGED TO PAY YOU BECAUSE ALL OUR INVESTIGATED CONFIRMED THAT YOU ARE THE RIGHT PERSON TO RECEIVE THIS FUND. ALSO NOTE THAT YOU HAVE TWO (2) OPTIONS TO RECEIVE YOUR FUND.
(1) OUR WESTERN UNION GOLD CARD WHICH YOU WILL WITHDRAW DAILY $4000.00 OPTION
(2) RECEIVE DAILY CASH $5,000.00 TILL THE TOTAL PAYMENT COMPLETED.
WE ADVISE YOU DO THE NEEDFUL TO THE SAFE TRANSFER OF YOUR FUND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. YOU ARE HERE BY REQUESTED TO SEND TO ME THE METHOD YOU WISH TO RECEIVE YOUR MONEY.
PLEASE ALSO RECONFIRM THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION FOR SECURITY REASONS.
1) YOUR FULL NAME:
2) YOUR FULL RECEIVING ADDRESS:
3) YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER:
THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
MR. ALEX PARKER.