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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- 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 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.
- email@example.com (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Nolan Jan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2021 13:19:56 +0100
Subject: MTCN to pick up this $5000
We have concluded to Send your payment through Western Union money
transfer $5,000.00 daily until the total fund of ($3.7MILLION ) is
completely transferred. Meanwhile, MR. Hikmet Ersek has Send you
$5,000.00 in your name today. So contact Mr. Hikmet Ersek, through
Western Union money transfer payment Agent to SEND you the MTCN to
pick up this $5000 now:
CONTACT PERSON: Mr. Hikmet Ersek
Cell Phone (+229) 65358701
Please remember to Call and ask him to give you the Reference Number,
sender name, question and answer to pick up the $5000.00. Also you
should send to him your information to cross check it to avoid
Phone Number: _________________
Your Occupation _______________
Though, Mr. Hikmet Ersek has sent $5000 in your name today so contact
Mr. Hikmet Ersek or you call him (+229) 65358701 as soon as you
receive this email and tell him to give you the Reference Number,
sender name and question/answer to pick the $5000 Please let us know
as soon as you received all your fund,
Mr Nolan Jan