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. )
- "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. )
- "consignment " (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)
- "lagos" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Emma" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2018 06:40:03 +0100
Subject: Re: <I> WITH DUE RESPECT,</I></DIV>.........
WITH DUE RESPECT,
I SHALL BE COMING TO YOUR COUNTRY FOR
AN OFFICIAL MEETING ON FRIDAY NEXT
WEEK AND I WILL BE BRINGING YOUR FUNDS
$3.5M DOLLARS WHICH IS PACKAGED IN
FORM OF A CONSIGNMENT ALONG WITH ME BUT THIS TIME
I WILL NOT GO THROUGH CUSTOMS
BECAUSE AS AN AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA, I
AM A US GOVERNMENT AGENT AND I HAVE
THE VETO POWER TO GO THROUGH CUSTOMS.
AS SOON AS I AM THROUGH WITH THE
MEETING I SHALL THEN PROCEED TO YOUR
ADDRESS. (SEND YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER
AND THE ADDRESS WHERE YOU WANT ME TO
BRING THE PACKAGE). YOU HAVE REALLY
PAID SO MUCH IN THIS DELIVERY THAT
MAKES ME WONDER.YOU ARE A VERY LUCKY
PERSON BECAUSE I SHALL BE BRINGING IT
MYSELF AND THERE IS NOTHING ANYONE
CAN DO ABOUT IT,AS IT ONE OUR PRIORITY
TO FIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY MEN
ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
YOUR PACKAGE MUST BE REGISTERED AS AN AMBASSADORIAL
PACKAGE FOR ME TO DEFEAT ALL ODDS AND
THE COST OF REGISTERING IT IS
$144.THE FEE MUST BE PAID IN THE NEXT
120 HOURS VIA WESTERN UNION OR MONEY
GRAM SO THAT ALL NECESSARY ARRANGEMENT
CAN BE MADE BEFORE TIME WILL BE
SEND THE FEE VIA MONEY GRAM OR WESTERN
UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
RECEIVER'S NAME:AUSTIN OGBOGU
ADDRESS: LAGOS, NIGERIA
AS SOON AS YOU SEND THE FEE MAKE SURE
YOU SEND ME THE PAYMENT INFORMATION.
MY FLIGHT IS FRIDAY NEXT WEEK AND I
EXPECT YOU TO COMPLY BEFORE THEN SO
THAT THE DELIVERY CAN BE COMPLETED. IF
YOU DO NOT COMPLY, THEN IT WILL NOT BE
MY FAULT IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE YOUR
FROM MR.EMMA EZE
THE PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO
US AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA