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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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. )
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.António Guterres" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2021 05:34:47 -0700
Subject: DIRECTORATE OF INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AND
DIRECTORATE OF INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT AND
TRANSFERS. UNITED NATIONS LIAISON OFFICE
LONDON UNITED KINGDOM
WIRE TRANSFER/AUDIT UNIT
Our Ref: UN/CPO/WB/845/2021
This is to bring to your notice that we have deposited your
compensation fund of $680,000.00 USD Six Hundred & Eighty Thousand US
Dollars) with Western Union Money Transfer after our finally meeting
regarding your payment.
We have mandated Western Union to transfer your compensation fund to
you via Western Union Money Transfer and our agreement with them is
$5,000.00 USD per-day until the total sum of $680,000.00 USD Six
Hundred & Eighty Thousand US Dollars) is transferred to you as agreed.
Contact Western Union director Mrs. Rose, email@example.com
and send her your information as where she will be
sending the funds to you, such as:
Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as
soon as you start picking up your payments daily.
Making the world a better place.
MY BEST REGARDS.
secretary to The United Nation.