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: Mrs Helen Giamma <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2021 12:04:10 -0800
Subject: Attention Dear Fund Owner
Attention Dear Fund Owner
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is compensating all the scam
victims and your email address was found in the scam victimâs list.
This Western Union office has been mandated by the IMF to transfer
your compensation to you via our Western Union sophisticated macro
transfer system. However we have concluded to commence your own
payment through Western Union Money Transfer at the rate of $10,000
twice daily until the total sum of $2.5M USD is completely transferred
to you. We won't be able to send the funds through your email address
alone, therefore you are to provide the following information.
Means Of Identificationâ¦.
You will be receiving $10.000.00 usd twice per day, so I want you to
contact the Western Union management, with the above details
immediately and ask him for your first payment. His name is (Mr Fred
Johnson ) and ask him to give you the Western Union payment
information so that you will be able to pick up your funds through
Western Union without any problem.
Managing Director Office
Name: Mr Fred Johnson
Telephone number: (+229 69457865)
Email him immediately so that he can provide the Western Union
information to you as urgently as possible.
Thanks for your patronage,
Mrs Helen Giamma
Federal ministry of finance Benin republic.