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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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. )
- "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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- 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: "Mr. NU" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2019 06:35:05 -0700
Subject: YOUR COMPENSATION
Please if you made any payment to any one in the past or present through Western Union/Money Gram/Bank Transfer/ for any kind of transaction contract payment/Inheritance Fund/Lottery Fund/Jackpot/and so on.The United Nation Anti-crime commission and the United State Government have Order the money recovered from the Scammers to be shared among 24 Lucky people around the globe.
This mail is been directed to you because your email address was found in one of the scam Artists file and computer hard disk in our custody here in Nigeria. You are therefore be compensated with $800,000.00 Dollars.
Please you are hereby advised to send a copy of the payment slip you used if itâs Western Union/Money Gram or Bank Transfer, Just send the copy of the slip transaction to proof that you were scammed before.
If you donât keep any record of your payment then send to me the email you have being receiving from the people that scammed you or any prove that will enable us to verify and then approve your compensation of $800,000.00 ( Eight Hundred Thousand United States Dollars). As it was instructed by the United Nation(UN) in Collaboration with Africa Union(AU) to pay the sum of USD $800,000.00 to each of the scam victims.
MR NZE OPUTA