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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Merrick B. Garland" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2021 13:33:35 +0100
Subject: Your International Settlement
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue,NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Victim of Scam,
After the recent Meeting held in Washington, DC by the United Nation
Delegates and Foreign Debt Experts, with the US Department of Justice in
conjunction with U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) IRS-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security
Investigations, the Federal Reserve Board, the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau Office of Inspector General and the Department of the
Treasury Office of Inspector General provided valuable assistance in
consideration of the recent legislative proposal with Agreement (MU) signed
by the United Nations and Intelligence Agency for International Settlement
(BIS) to ultimately resolve petitions/charges brought by the International
Organization against Western Union.
Evidently, this noble Agencies have primarily gathered, processed and
analyzed useful information about your illegal activities and payments
through Western Union to many fraudsters locally and around the world even
here in the United States over the years.
Consequently, you have been approved to receive a
Compensation/Reimbursement of (US$1,580.000.00) One Million Five Hundred
and Eighty Thousand Unite States Dollars Only for this last quarter of this
fiscal year 2021.
All verified beneficiaries and companies have been shortlisted for
immediate payment of their approved amount through our accredited payment
center in the United States.
Note; Preferred and secured means by which your compensation funds will be
paid are ATM MASTER CARD and BANK DRAFT.
Therefore, you are required to acknowledge this email for verification with
your (Name and Address)
Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.
Merrick B. Garland,
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE