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. )
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- 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: "NEW YORK FIDUCIARY." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2020 08:30:33 -0500
Subject: You have been approved for Compensation.
I am Donald F.Wahl a World Bank and United Nations Office on Drugs and
Crime(UNODC)Certified and accredited Fiduciary agent.I have the brief
and accreditation to handle your file as regards the hereunder
Due to the Subpoena given to the Western Union to submit all transfers
made through them by unsuspecting Scam victims,your name was submitted
and therefore you have been awarded a compensation of $2.5Million to be
Please see this link to be better informed;
We should have contacted you a little earlier,but due to the fact that
all operations are from New York and the CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC has
limited our operation.
Meanwhile we are mostly working from home now.You are to immediately
provide your updated Bank account coordinates, valid ID,and phone
number to proceed with your payment ASAP.