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. )
- ",000,000" (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)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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: STEPHEN CROCKARD <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 2021 14:29:33 +0100
Subject: RE. YOUR FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES
STEPHEN CROCKARD (UK)
INTERNATIONAL POLICE (INTERPOL UK).
RE. YOUR FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES.
I AM MR. STEPHEN CROCKARD HEAD. INTERNATIONAL POLICE(INTERPOL) UK}. THIS
ORGANIZATION IS SET UP TO FIGHT AGAINST,CORRUPTION,CRIME AGAINST
CHILDREN,CYBERCRIME,DRUGS,ENVIRONMENTAL FASTID,FINANCIAL CRIME,
FUGITIVES,MARITIME PIRACY,ORGANIZED CRIME,PEOPLE SMUGGLING,PHARMACEUTICAL CRIME,
TERRORISM,TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS,TRAFFICKING IN ILLICIT GOODS,VEHICLE
CRIME, WANTED PERSON,WAR CRIME,WEAPON, WORKS OF ART ETC IN THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY.
RECENTLY, WE HAVE BEEN WORKING CLOSELY WITH SECRET AGENCIES AROUND THE GLOBE
TRYING TO STOP INTERNET FRAUD THAT IS AIMED AT UNSUSPECTED VICTIMS IN THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA AND OTHER PARTS OF THE EUROPE AND ASIA . WE HAVE BEEN INFORMED
THAT YOU HAVE BEEN WIRING OUT MONEY TO NIGERIA BENIN REPUBLIC, GHANA ETC WHICH
AMOUNTED TO OVER $1,000 DOLLARS.
FROM OUR INVESTIGATIONS WE DISCOVERED THAT YOU HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH FRAUD
STARS. THEY WILL DISAPPEAR ONCE THEY ARE DONE COLLECTING ALL YOUR MONEY. AN
EXAMPLE OF THEIR FRAUDULENT OPERATIONS INCLUDES:
WESTERN UNION FRAUD
ATM CARD FRAUD
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
ONLINE DATING SCAM
ONLINE SALES SCAM
I THEREFORE OBLIGE THAT YOU RESPOND TO THIS E-MAIL IF YOU ARE IN THIS SITUATION
PRESENTLY OR PREVIOUSLY BECAUSE WE HAVE SOLUTION TO GET THIS PEOPLE AND ALSO WE
HAVE ARRESTED SOME SUSPECTS AND HAVE ALSO BEEN ABLE TO SECURE A JUDGMENT IN OUR
FAVOR FOR THE RETURN AND RE-FUNDS OF OVER $1,000,000 DOLLARS FROM THIS PEOPLE.
THIS MONEY COULD BE PAID BACK TO YOU VICTIMS, IF ONLY YOU ARE READY TO
CO-OPERATE WITH US BY GIVEN US MORE INFORMATION ON THE FRAUDULENT ACT COMMITTED
MORE DETAILS WOULD BE GIVEN TO YOU ONCE YOUR RESPONSE IS RECEIVED.
INTERNATIONAL POLICE UK(INTERPOL)