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.
- 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. )
- "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)
- "foreign payment unit" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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 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: "WESTERN UNION TRANSFER NOTICE (CBN)" <GovernorofficeDept@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 22:04:13 +0530 (IST)
Subject: WESTERN UNION PAYMENT NOTICE(CBN)
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
FROM DEPUT GOVERNOR
THIS IS TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR $12, 5 MILLION USD PART PAYMENT OF
$100,000 WILL BE SEND TO YOU VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER AND
WIRING TRANSFER KTT SWIFT PAYMENT SECONDPAYMENT COMMENCE BY DISPATCH
FOR WIRING TRANSFER WHILE FIRST TRANSFER COMMENCE BY WESTERN UNION MONEY
TRANSFER. THE PAYMENT OF CONTRACT/INHERITANCE FUND THAT ORIGINATES ALL
AROUND AFRICA . THIS SUPERVISION EXERCISE WAS PART OF THE AGREEMENT SIGNED
BETWEEN THE JOINT MEETING OF THIS OFFICE, ECOWAS, UNITED NATIONS AND THE
AFRICAN UNION.INCLUDE ECONOMIC INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE THE TOTAL AMOUNT
MENTIONED ABOVE TO BE RELEASED ON WESTERN UNION OUTLETAND THEY WILL SEND
THE MONEY VIA WESTERN UNION TO YOU.
NOTE THEY WILL BE SENDING $24,000 USD TO YOU IN THREE DIFFERENT
TRANSACTION BY WESTERN UNION.IN THREE DIFFERENT PAYMENT EACH WORTH$8000
ALL TOGETHER WORTH$24,000 THE BALANCE WILL BE PAID DIRECT WIRING TRANSFER
ON YOUR FAVOR THEREFORE I WANT YOU TO EMAIL DR WILLIAM SOLOMON FOR
RECEIVING THIS PAYMENT FROM HIS OFFICE TO ENABLE THE WESTERN UNION FOR
POSITION ON FOREIGN PAYMENT UNIT (CBN),
AND ASK THE PAYING OFFICE TO THE TEXT
QUESTION AND ANSWER, WITH MTCN CONTROL NUMBER FOR STATED THREE
TRANSACTION ON YOUR FAVOR REACH YOUR HANDS THE FIRST IN THREE DIFFERENT
TRANSACTION WORTH $24,000 THEN EACH WORTH $8000 DOLLARS .YOU HAVE TO GET
THIS THREE GOOD TIME PAYMENT BY WESTERN UNION MONEY ,BEFORE THE BALANCE
WILL BE WIRED TO YOUR NOMINATED BANK ACCOUNT ,
I SEE THAT THIS MUST BE BETTER FOR YOU CALL THE PAYING OFFICE HIM NOW TO
ENABLE HIM TRANSFER YOU FIRST PAYMENTCOMMENCE ON TIME THROUGH THIS
NUMBER +234 1 4343776 .AND GET IN CONTACT WITH REV ,JOHN KHAN NOW
AND ASK HIM TO GIVE YOU THE INFORMATION AND EVERY OTHER INFORMATION YOU
NEED TO PICK UP YOUR PLEASE STATED READYTO GET $24,000 DOLLARS FOR THE
TRANSFER IMMEDIATELY . HERE IS WHAT HEMAY REQUIRE FROM YOU.
NOTE THAT THE THERE IS NO ROOM FOR DELAYING THIS TRANSACTION STATED ON
TRANSFER BY WESTERN UNION CONTACT HIM NOW ON THIS
WEBMAIL EMAIL ADDRESS: ( email@example.com )OR
CONTACT PAYING PERSON NAME , REV ,JOHN KHAN,
MAKE SURE YOU CALLED HIM ON PHONE FOR RECEIVING THE FUND
THANKS,FOR YOUR COOPERATION
DR BARAU SULEIMAN
THE DEPUTY GOVERNOR CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
DATE : 22 :03: 2010