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:
- "money gram" (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. )
- "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. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "MRS.SUSAN DAVID." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2022 08:18:34 -1200
Subject: YOUR FIRST PAYMENT HAS BEEN SENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GOOD DAY AND MY GREETINGS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.. WE HAVE CONCLUDED
TO EFFECT YOUR PAYMENT THROUGH (MONEY GRAM TRANSFER) AND $8,000.00
WILL BE SENT DAILY TO YOU UNTIL THE $3.6 MILLION IS COMPLETELY
THOUGH, MR.JOHN YOUNG SENT $8,000.00 IN YOUR NAME TODAY, SO CONTACT
MONEY GRAM AGENT AND REQUIRE FROM HIM TO GIVE YOU THE MTCN, SENDER'S
NAME AND QUESTION/ANSWER TO PICK THE $8,000.00 HAS FIRST PAYMENT OUT
OF YOUR $3.6MILLION.
HERE IS THE DETAILS OF THE INFORMATION NEEDED FROM YOU:
MAILING ADDRESS: _______
PASSPORT BY ATTACH OR DRIVER'S LICENSE NUMBER.______
THEY WILL BE SENDING USD$8,000.00 PER DAY ONCE YOUR PAYMENT FILE IS
ACTIVATED. CONTACT BENIN MONEY GRAM PAYMENT DEPARTMENT UNIT BELOW:
DIRECTOR NAME:MR.JOHN YOUNG.
OFFICE LINE:(+234 9069417796 OR +234 9052604995