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. )
- "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)
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union Money Transfer Office <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 10:49:49 -0300
Subject: PICK UP YOUR $5000,00USD NOW!!!
How are you today?
I write to inform you that we have already sent you $5,000.00USD
Union as we have been given the mandate to transfer your full
payment of $1.800,000.00USD via Western Union Money Transfer by the
Nations (ECOWAS). This is because the United Nations and (ECOWAS) are
individuals due to the worldwide economy meltdown.
I would have requested for your phone number to give you the
phone but internet hackers were many. So i decided to email you the
sender name so that you can pick up this $5,000.00USD to enable us
$5,000.00USD by tomorrow as you know that we will be sending you only
$5,000.00USD per day.=A0 The fund was sent in the name which you use in
your e-mail address.
Please pick up this information and rush to any western union to pick
$5,000.00USD and send us an email back to enable us send you another
Manager :Mrs.Anita Daniel
email me once you picked up this USD5000.00 today.
Here is the western union information to pick up the
Sender First Name:Thomas
Sender Last Name:Peter
Question: Who Is Great
I am waiting for your email once you pick up USD5000.00,