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:
- 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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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. )
- "million united state 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)
- "hundred thousand united state 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 fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: WESTERN UNION FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDER <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2022 12:20:02 +0200
FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDER
Ref: File Number (/SA/6669/2022)
Transfer Identification Code (WUNT/768/SA)
We are making our 168th beginning of the year Anniversary for 2022; we
rolled out over USD$16, 000, 000, 00 (Sixteen Million United State Dollars)
for our 168tht Anniversary draws. All participants were selected through a
computer ballot system drawn from 25,000,00 company email addresses, and
30,000,00 individual email addresses from over 40 networks from Australia,
New Zealand, North America, South America Europe, all Asia and Africa as
part of our International promotion held in South Africa.
We officially Announce to you that your email address has just Won the sum
of USD$600, 000, 00 (Six Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) to begin
the verification process of your prize; you are required to forward your
details to the fund claims manager as indicated below and give him an
urgent phone call to get more clarifications on this matter.
The Claim Manager Details is as fellow:
Name: Fred Richard
Tell: + +27631989476
Payment Option# 1
Electronic Wire Transfer
1. Bank Name:
2. Beneficiary Name:
3. Account Number:
4. Bank Address:
5. Swift Code or Routing Number:
6. Your Mobile Telephone Number:
7. Date of Birth:
Once your details are received and verified you will be contacted by the
Fund Claims Manager in the next 24hours as soon as you forwarded your
required bank account information to him for the transfer.
SAVE TIME, SEND MONEY, EARN REWARDS
WESTERN UNION IS A SERVICE PEOPLE TRUST
THANK YOU FOR USING WESTERN UNION