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. )
- "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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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 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.
- +229989 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- +22998892244 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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: "Mr.Frank Edward" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 10:56:27 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: CONTACT WESTERN UNION FOR YOUR PAYMENT NOW
This is to bring to your notice that my office has taking over all the money Transaction originated from any part of African/ Europe and Asia counties etc. as Contract payment, Fund inheritance or Lottery Winning, Atm Debit cards, henceforth commercial banks, Security Companies,
Atm Credit and Debit Union including any offshore payment centers are no more authorized to handle release of funds.
I write to inform you that we have already sent you US$5000.00 Dollars through Western union as we have been given the mandate to transfer your payment total sum of US$1.5 Million,via western union by this governemnt.I decided to email you the MTCN and sender name so that you will pick up your US$5000.00 to enable them send another $5000.00 usd today as you know we will be sending you only
$5000.00 USD per day, and it was agreed that you will pay the sum of $100 (CERTIFICATE OF FUNDS LEGALITY) before they will realease the payment to you.
Your payment of $5.000 is ready. To check your money enter WESTERN UNION WEBSITE
ENTER your MTCN
Here Is The Senders Information
Senders First Name: Lloyd
Senders Second Name: Kirschenman
MTCN: 208 320 4731
You are hereby advise to call Director of Operation REV Morgan Anderson on +229 98892244 / +229-989,Email:(Reply to email@example.com) because he is the person incharge for your payment. email Him today. Note that your $5.000 is placed on hold pending when you send them the $100 Dollars.
Here is the information to send the charges of $100
REV REV Morgan Anderson
Reply to (firstname.lastname@example.org)
phone.+229-989 396 30 / +229 996 542 57