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. )
- "email@example.com" (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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms. Precious Oly" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2021 15:23:28 -0500
Subject: Dear Email Owner/Fund Beneficiary,
From The Western Union ® Cash Transfer
Address: Rue 395, Place du Souvenir Cadjehoun
RE: 2018- 2020 SCAM VICTIM'S COMPENSATION FROM THE IMF BENIN.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is compensating all the scam
victims and your email address was found in the scam victim's list.
This Western Union office has been fully mandated by the IMF to
transfer your compensation to you via Western Union® Money
Transfer.However, we have concluded to affect your own payment through
Western Union® Money Transfer, $1,000 twice daily until the total sum
of $200,000,00 thousand dollars is completely transferred to you. We can not be
able to send the payment with your email address alone; thereby we
need your information as to where we will be sending the funds.Your
first Payment has been sent. This payment was directed to be made
available in your full information immediately you reconfirmed your
full information as the following below
Your Full Name:............................
Your Home Address:..........................
Your Country/ City:
Your Direct Phone Number:...........................
Your ID copy:...........................
Reply back with your full information. Note that your payment files
will be returned to the IMF within 72 hours if we did not hear from
you, this was the instruction given to us by the IMF. We will start
the transfer as soon as we received your information.
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