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:
- "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")
- "million 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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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.
- 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: WESTERN UNION AWARD NOTIFICATION <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2020 20:52:57 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Congratulations ! you have won $2.5 million Dollars
RE/AWARD NOTIFICATION; FINAL NOTICE
Our Ref: TAC/SNT/STN
THIS IS TO INFORM YOU THAT WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER MANAGEMENT HEREBY INFORM YOU THAT YOUR NAME EMERGED ON OUR SYSTEM AS ONE OF THE ONLINE WINNING IN THE 3RD CATEGORY AND THEREFORE ATTRACTED A CASH AWARD OF OF $2.5MILLION DOLLARS (TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS). WE ARE HERE TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR NAME APPEARS IN OUR SYSTEM AS OUR ESTEEM PATRONIZE CUSTOMER.THEREFORE THE MANAGEMENT HEREBY COMPENSATE YOU WITH THE ABOVE MENTION SUM IN ORDER TO PROMOTE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER SYSTEM WORLDWILD .
YOU HAVE ONLY FEW DAYS PERIOD IMMEDIATELY YOU RECEIVE THIS EMAIL TO CONTACT THIS OFFICE.Â SO CALL MANAGER IN CHARGE OF YOUR PAYMENT TO RELEASE YOURÂ PAYMENT TO YOU.TEL:+229 61686759.
Kindly forward your verification details as stated below to your Fiduciary Agent;
1. FULL NAMES:
2. HOUSE ADDRESS:
6. DIRECT PHONE NO:
8. TICKET NUMBER: 00869675733664
9. SERIAL NUMBER: BTD/8070447706/06
10.LUCKYÂ NUMBER: 12-1223-35-40-41(12)
we have deposited the funds as we agreed with western union, Now all you have to do is to contact them via EMAIL
OFFICE OF RELEASE ORDER:
CONTACT PERSON: MR.GERALD BRAD,
Email ADDRESS:( firstname.lastname@example.org )
they will give you direction on how you will be receiving the funds daily. My agreement with them is 5,000USD daily until the total of $2.5 MILLION USD is transferred You.
MEANWHILE YOU ARE ADVISE TO CALL MR GERALD BRAD ON PHONE IMMEDIATELY YOU RECEIVE THIS MESSAGE SO AS TO ENABLE HIM ATTEND TO YOU URGENT +229 61686759