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:
- "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. )
- "into your nominated bank account" (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)
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "transfer of your funds" (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)
- "cotonou" (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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "WESTERN UNION Â©" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 00:01:43 +0100
Subject: WESTERN UNION PAYMENT NOTIFICATION
(JWestern Union$BB.(J (B
(JWelcome to Western Union (B
(JSend Money Worldwide(B
(JWestern Union$BB.(J Welcome to Western Union Send Money Worldwide(B
(JThere is an issue with the WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER in the amount of $400.000.00 USD Four hundred thousand united state dollars directed in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308 at the owner of this email address. (B
(JThe INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND contacted us for your compensation a couple of hours ago due to your allocated security code. They said that they choose to send it to an email address instead of a name. (B
(JWe are unable to complete a transfer directed at an email address, so we require some more information in order to complete this transfer. (B
(J 1.) FULL NAME: (B
(J2.) AGE: (B
(J3.) SEX: (B
(J4.) ADDRESS: (B
(J5.) ZIP/POSTAL CODE: (B
(J6.) STATE/PROVINCE: (B
(J7.) COUNTRY: (B
(J8.) PHONE: (B
(J9.) OCCUPATION/POSITION: (B
(J10.) COMPANY: (B
(J11.) EMAIL ADDRESS:(B
(JIn order to resolve this problem, please email via Western Union Solicitors Fund Verification Department: (B
(J(firstname.lastname@example.org ) As soon as this information is received, and you have complied with the requirements of payment of the western union charges $150USD, payment will be made to your nominated bank account or at the counter directly from The Western Union Transferring Agent. (B
(JNote: That this is not one of those Benin repulic du cotonou west African scams that is to rip you off your money and at the end you will not receive your funds, but note that this is no scam and is directly from western union.(B
(JManagement of Western Union Money Transfer United Kingdom Head Office and our Motto is To Serve You Better. Contact us on our website on www.westernunion.com also note that you would be responsible for any payment that is needed for the transfer of your funds into your nominated bank account or at the counter directly from the Western Union Transferring Bank. (B
(JTHE MANAGEMENT OF WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER, UNITED KINGDOM HEAD OFFICE. DISPATCHED THIS DAY .(B
(JRev.Michael Paul . (B
(J(email@example.com ) Western Union$BB.(J Welcome to Western UnionPhone:+229-97-22- 49-65 Send Money Worldwide.(B
(JWestern Union Payments(B