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:
- 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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- 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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. David John" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2022 13:40:26 -0800
Subject: With due Respect Dear,,
With due Respect Dear,
Contact person :( Rev. Fred James)(firstname.lastname@example.org)
This email message is to official inform you that after the Executive Board Meeting between the United Nation/FBI and Africa Union in collaboration with IMF Official and World Bank, in respect of your
outstanding approved Scam Victims Settlement Inheritance Compensation Fund amounting the sum of $800,000 USD. It was concluded today your payment be paid to you through Western Union Money Transfer Service at the rate of $ 5000 us dollars daily until the said Fund $800,000.00 USD is completely paid to you.
As a matter of fact; its my pleasure to official inform you that the first installment payment $5000.00 has been sent on your behalf today by Officer in person of: Jim Vincent via our Western Union Money Transfer Service as it was signed and approved, therefore kindly contact Rev. Fred James, immediately Phone number: +229 63607481,Email address( email@example.com)for your for your first instrumental Western Union Payment DETAILS $5000 sent today as to enable you get it picked up today from any Western Union Store outlet around you:
Note, you are required to re-confirm below information as to ensure that there is no mistake on your end being the recipient of the first $5000 USD sent today OK.
Your Full name:...............
Direct Telephone number..............
Current Home address:.................
Passport or Drivers License Number:
Thanks for your warmest understanding & total co-operation.
Mr. David John