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:
- 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:
- "moneygram" (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. )
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MICHAEL ISIOMA" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Sep 2022 14:08:42 +0100
Subject: MESSAGE FOR YOU.....................
IN REGARD TO YOUR MASTER CREDIT CARD PACKAGE WITH UPS.
WE RECEIVED AN EMAIL ALERT FROM UPS OFFICE REGARDING
YOUR PACKAGE WHICH HAS BEEN WITH THEM FOR TWO WEEKS NOW AND THE
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING AGENT IN CHARGE PLANNED TO RETURN YOUR PACKAGE TO
THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE OF NIGERIA. THE TOTAL AMOUNT YOUR MASTER CARD
CONTAINS IS $1MILLION AND THIS INCLUDE INTEREST RATE UP TILL DATE.
THE MASTER CARD WAS PROGRAMMED TO HAVE ACCESS GLOBALLY WHICH YOU CAN MAKE
WITHDRAWALS OR TRANSACTION WITH IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD.
IT SEEMS YOU DON'T WANT TO SHOW ANY SERIOUSNESS TOWARD THE SHIPMENT OF
YOUR PACKAGE THAT IS WHY THEY WANT TO RETURN IT AND THEY NEED PERMISSION
FROM ME FIRST BEFORE THEY WILL RETURN THE PACKAGE.
I ORDERED THEM TO STOP AND I ALSO ASSURE THEM THAT I WILL MAKE SURE
THE CHARGED FEES REQUIRED TO ENABLE THE SHIPMENT WHICH IS $70 WILL BE
PAID AND THIS WILL BE THE LAST FEE REQUIRED.
REMEMBER YOU HAVE SPENT A LOT TOWARD THIS PACKAGE ONCE THE CHARGED FEES
REQUIRED NOW IS PAID SHIPMENT WILL COMMENCE AND YOU WILL RECOVER ALL
YOU HAVE SPENT RECENTLY.
YOU ARE HEREBY ADVISED TO SEND THE FEES BY MONEYGRAM TO OUR AGENT NAME AS BELOW:
RECEIVERS NAME: UVIE NDUDI WEKPE.
LOCATION: LAGOS NIGERIA.
BANK BRANCH MANAGER