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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS.LISA JOHNSON W U" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2011 00:43:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject: URGENT URGENT URGENT
Please be informed that the funds are coming directly from the United Nation Head headquarters in England. It is a Grand Donation from the United Nation to support individuals financially due to the global and financial economic meltdown. Your email address was selected globally as one of the beneficiaries this year a and we are only to pay beneficiaries once they meet their financial obligations. ( email@example.com )
Western Union is not allowed to make all payment at once to individuals without proper identification for security reasons, so you have to make the payment of 76USD for purchasing your International Remittance File ( I.R.F) and opening of a western union account before the funds can come in from western union, then you can withdraw all your funds in just 5 minutes. Do not get the doubt in mind about this because this is not a scam and as soon as the payment of $76 USD is
confirmed, your account will be setup and the details of the account together with the certificate of ownership will be sent to you and put you as the receiver of the funds on how to pick up the money from any western union office / outlet in your country
In regards to your mail that was received in this office and was noted, We received the information you sent to us for the transfer of your fund valued at USD$ 3000,000.00 on installment daily transfer of USD$7,000.00 per day. Note that we will be transferring the fund to you $7000.00 per day as the western union protocol restricts us from making transfer of fund more than USD $7000 per day from (United Nation).
We have started today with transfer of the first USD$7,000.
www.westernunion.com (firstname.lastname@example.org )
you will not be able to pick this payment up because it has been put on hold by The payment supervisor. In accordance to the new rules and regulations of all the western union money transfer world-wide, you are to make payment for the swift programming and MTCN transfer tax to your country which will cost you $76 USD before the transfer can be released to you for pick up. Bear it in mind that the fee is not negotiable and we can not release the transfer to you today if you did not send the required fee. Be informed that the fee cover for the transfer of all your fund and not just this first transfer meaning that you will not be required to pay any fee again for the rest of the transfer.
You are advised to go to the nearest Western Union Money Transfer agent around you and send the fee immediately because the fee is the only delay for your fund to be released as the fund is presently on our system. Do send me your phone number in your next mail for oral directions.( email@example.com )
Below is the information you will use to send us the fee of $76 USD Via western union to our account officer JOHNSON Anderson.
Receivers name_____Chukwuemeka Marcel
Receivers Address_____ Benin Republic.
Country_______ Benin Republic.
Text Question______ Colour
Once you send the money, send the payment information immediately for easy pick-up and your transfer shall be released in two hours after confirmation of the payment. We await to receive the payment information. BE ADVISED ACCORDINGLY.( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Note : Incorrect payment information can lead to penalties, confiscation or delay of your account. ( email@example.com )
JOHNSON Anderson CALL ME AT +229-98091364