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:
- "moneygram" (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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: MR GEORGE EDWARDS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 2021 10:42:45 -0700
Subject: Very Urgent Dear Beneficiary
WE THE MONEY GRAM URGENT REMITTING OFFICE HAVE SENT YOUR FULL
COMPENSATION PAYMENT OF $3.5millon TO YOU THROUGH MONEY GRAM, YOU WILL
BE RECEIVING 3,500.00USD PER DAY. NOW WE HAVE SENT THE FIRST PAYMENT
SO CONTACT OUR DIRECTOR MR. MR.JAMES BENSON. AND ASK HIM TO GIVE YOU
THE MONEY GRAM PAYMENT INFORMATION SO THAT YOU CAN BE ABLE TO PICK UP
YOUR FUNDS THROUGH MONEY GRAM WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM.
HERE IS THE CONTACT INFORMATION OF MONEY GRAM
DIRECTOR GENERAL: MR.JAMES BENSON.
EMAIL ADDRESS: (email@example.com)
THEN CONTACT HIM WITH YOUR FULL INFORMATION.
Receiver name: __________
Telephone number: ________
EMAIL HIM NOW SO THAT HE CAN PROVIDE THE MONEY GRAM INFORMATION TO
YOU AS URGENT AS YOU CAN.
THANKS AND GOD BLESSING "U"
MR GEORGE EDWARDS.
GOOD NEWS YOUR TOTAL FUNDS IS $3.5MILLION