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:
- "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. )
- "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. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr.andrew Wick" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2011 22:07:22 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Attn Beneficiary;
The Board of International Monetary Fund/World bank are hereby notify you of your payment funds of$2,500.000.00 US after the meeting held on 10th of May 2011.with His Excellence the PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC DU BENIN (DR YAYI BONI) has Instructed Western Union money transfer to send your funds through western union money transfer to enable you receive your funds without further delay. You are required to send your name and address to WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC.The maximum amount you will be receiving daily starting from today is $5000,US) and the MTCN NO# will be sent along with the Text Questions & Answers for you to receive your fund through any Western Union Location in your Country. Send your information to DR.PETER MOORE of western union money transfer in Cotonou Benin Republic.
Your Full name--------------
For further procedure Contact the western union money transfer payment officer with the information below;
Western Union Money Transfer Office.
Email;( firstname.lastname@example.org )
We have protected your fund of$2,500.000.00 US with insurance hard cover,Western union will not divert your money or take some money from your fund and the transfer charges of $250 for first transfer of $5000,US will be paid by you to western Union office to enable them transfer your money. They will start sending you $5000,US per day,Try to fill the Above Information's where they will be sending you your money and do let me know immediately you get your fund for us to share the joy together.
Yours in service
World Bank Auditor