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:
- 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. )
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Susan <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2019 10:14:09 +0200
Subject: IMF $4,000 USD
Dear Email ID Owner,
USD $4,000 PAYMENT WE SENT TODAY TO PICK UP.
The IMF is compensating all the email address, that was fund as one of
the ward win Victims and your mail address is listed in one
of approved to pay sum of $3.7 million U.S DOLLARS. We have concluded
to effect your own payment through Western Union Money Transfer to
easy pick up those fund in good condition,$4,000 twice daily until the
total sum of $3.7million usd is completely transferred to you. We now
need your information where we will be sending the funds,such
as;Receiver name(Your full Name)address and phone number. Contact
Western Union with this E-mail: ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) with
your full information. For urgent enquiry call Mr.Paul Williams +229
61167883 for the payment.
Call Tel; +229-61167883
Call Mr.Paul Williams immediately you get this mail to enable him
speed up your payment immediately to released the $4000 dollar MTCN to
you for your pick up the payment OK.
(1)Your Full name:
(2)Your Phone number:
Mrs. Susan Ude
Contact Dir. Western Union Money Transfer,