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:
- "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 us 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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Render Jones <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 12:58:24 +0100
Subject: ATTENTION DEAR BENEFICIARY
This message is from Federal ministry of finance Benin Republic, we
are to let you know that we have finally concluded with UBA Bank Benin
Republic to release your full compensation payment of $1.5Million US
Dollars to you through Money Gram and you will be receiving the sum of
$25,000.00 us dollars daily and First payment has been sent:
Reference: to you,
The Money Gram office stated that you will be receiving your funds at
the maximum rate of $25,000.00 us dollars daily until you receive the
total sum of $1.5 Million US Dollars completely. You are also
requested to re-confirm your address to them to avoid any wrong
1 Your First Name..........
2Your Second Name.........
Home Address: Occupation: Cell Phone Country: Age:
contact person:Mr Smith Bogani
MONEY GRAM department
Financial Bank Benin Republic ,
Whatasp number Phone: Mobile: +22994508631
Contact Mr Smith Bogani, immediately through his above email address to
give you Sender Name & Question and Answer to pick up your money today
and let me know when you confirm it all.Thank you,
Mrs Render Jones