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:
- "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. )
- "million dollars" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: TED TURNER <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Nov 2021 22:42:36 +0100
Subject: YOUR FUND IS READY
Hello my dear,
how are you today hope you are fine? I write to inform you that we have
already sent you $5,000 United State Dollars through Wal-martmoney transfer
as we have been given the mandate to transfer your full compensation
payment worth the total sum of $3.7 Million Dollars) via Wal-mart money
transfer by this States of Florida United States,
I was been trying to send you an E-mail since yesterday for the Wal-mart
money transfer payment details but the message keep returning back I
don'treally know why, therefore I try to re-sending the e-mail to you again
today with all the Wal-mart money transfer payment information for you
topick up the money from any outlet Walmart money transfer around you, such
as MTCN and Sender's Name so that you will pick up this $5,000. United
State Dollars to enable us send another $5,000 tomorrow as you know we will
be sending you only $5,000 United State Dollars per day.
Please copy all this information and run to any nearest Wal-mart money
transfer to pick up the $5,000. And call me back to send you anotherpayment
tomorrow, Manager: Dr.Mark Robert, call or email me once you picked up this
$5,000 United State Dollars today,
Here is the Wal-mart money transfer information to pick up the $5,000.
United State Dollars
I am waiting for your call once you pick up this $5,000. Please E-mail me
your direct telephone number because I need to be calling you once we
sendany payment for the information. Note we really need your current
direct phone so that once we make any payment we shall call you for the
MTCN.This is our Alternative Email Contact, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in Service Email
Mr. Mark Robert