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:
- 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. )
- "money transfer control number" (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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- +447077075680 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Western Union." (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 07:11:29 -0400
Subject: Activate Your Funds To Start Recieving Your Money......
Activate Your Funds To Start Recieving Your Money......
FROM THE WESTERN UNION DEPARTMENT
HSC 1894 WESTERN LONDON UK
MR. SAMUEL BOLINDER (CFE - OFAC)
ADDRESS: 7-11 MOORGATE, LONDON EC2R
6AQ, UNITED KINGDOM
RE: RSVX /07342/01/10 WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER®
INSTALLMENTAL PAYMENT OFFICE
WESTERN UNION INSTALLMENT PAYMENT ONLY.
Attention; (Your Payment Notification),
This is to officially inform you that we have verified your contract inheritance file presently on my desk, and we found out that you have not received your payment due to lack of co-operation and not fulfilling the obligations giving to you in respect to your contract inheritance and lottery payment through your payment bank.
Your Over-due payment please confirm for immediate release. Get back to me immediately for necessary steps concerning your inheritance. Sequel to your none reply of my earlier email to you dated Today. On behalf of the Trustees and Executors to your inheritance file of Funds month ago, I wish to notify you that your name appeared in the Central computing system in our ministry as the rightful owner for the unpaid beneficiary as the statement of the Funds and you entitled part payment of your total inheritance funds of $10 Million through Western Union Money Transfer System Easter celebration in this New Year season as authorized by Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Reserve, with the Central bank.
After the Law Enforcement judgment between the UNITED NATION ORGANIZATION Agent Mr. Goldman Smith and Compensation finance head office, The meeting held today, with the aforementioned Office and Banks, the Concluded arrangement has appointed our office (Western Union Money Transfer) to pay your unpaid fund through western union electronic system for your easy pickup and to avoid further unforeseen delay that could make your fund not to get to you in a timely manner.
The Management of the UNITED NATION ORGANISATION HEAD BRANCH here in West LONDON have submitted your name, city and country informations to our office for endorsement & daily activation of your payment which has been programmed to be transferred under installment at rate of $8,000 daily as Western Union laws here does not allow transferring funds above $8,000 at once from this country to another, but will be sending under installment of $8,000 daily till the amount is completely paid.
In other words, We have today transferred your first installment payment available for your Pick-Up at any western union office nearest to you, but still on hold due to the unpaid endorsement & daily activation file fee amount of 150.00 Pounds you supposed to pay before your daily transfer will be made available to you daily.
Secondly, you are hereby advice to stop dealing with your present transaction either from Nigeria/Europe they are Fraudulent Offices and the non-officials member of the Bank as this is an illegal act and You have to stop further communication, if you wish to receive your payment immediately through the Western Union Office.
You will pickup the below installmental payment at any western union office nearest to you with the below information's as soon as you send the 150 Pounds endorsement & daily activation file fee today. You are to track your first installmental payment online at www.westernunion.com OR Call Western Union tracking number 1-800-325-6000 for available fund for your verification purpose.
Below is the Western Union Details for you record, You can Track it online now.
Money Transfer Control Number (M.T.C.N): 047 380 5955
Senders First Name: Anthony
Senders Last Name: Tomazinis
Question: what are the colors?
Answer: Red and Blue
You are advised to re-confirm to me your details as required below to enable the release of your payment total funds worth $10Million to you as a matter of urgency with the required below details:-
(1). Re-confirm your full names:
(2). Re-confirm Contact address:
(3). Re-confirm valid Phone #:
(7). Mode of Payment:
We wish to inform you based on a lot of junks mail flying over the internet and some people are using advantage to collect account information from people on internet for fraudulent purpose, that is while it was assigned and approved by International Monetary Fund (IMF) that your payment will come through Western Union Money Transfer system and also your funds as been programmed to be release to you through western union, twice a day, after collection.
As soon as the above are provided, Western Union department in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Finance will contact you with the West ern Union Payment information to enable you cash your money daily. The amount you will be receiving twice per day is US$8000.00 and the MTCN number will be sending along with the Text Questions & Answers for you to receive your fund through any Western Union Location in your Country due to IMF Control, IRS and Home Land Security.
Our Regards and we are sorry for the inconvenience please bear with us.
Thanks for your co-operation and Waiting to hear from you soonest.
We look forward to serving you better.
MR. SAMUEL BOLINDER
Permanent Secretary to Dr. Mansur Muhtar (OFR)
Honorable Minister of Finance.