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. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Lewis Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 2010 05:45:14 -0800 (PST)
Subject: RE: MTCN NO# 8682039914
WESTERN UNION@MONEY TRANSFER AGENT
LOCATION Western Union Money Transfer
PO Box 6992 Greenwood Village, CO 80155-6992
Cotonou, Benin Rep
Western Union Money Transfer Agent Location, PO Box 6992 Greenwood
Village, CO 80155-6992, Cotonou, Benin. We have acknowledge the receipt
your email in regards to the immediate release of your ($1.500.000 USD)
deposited here by Federal Minister Administrator Trust Fund Committee
to send to you through this medium of Western Union Money Transfer. For
security reasons and to safe guide of your fund,
We have verified your payment with this exclusive Transaction details:
To confirm your payment Visit: www.westernunion.com
SENDER'S FIRST NAME:.......... EMEKA JULIUS
SENDER LAST NAME.............NWASA
TEST QUESTION:............What Color?
TEST ANSWER:............... RED.
Status : Available for pick up by receiver
Estimated Exchange Rate and Payout Amount Exchange Rate;
1 US Dollar (USD) = 481.6050393CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF)
Estimated local currency Sent out = 4,816,051.00CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF)
Estimated local currency Pay out = $4,500.00 US Dollars (USD)
Western Union Fee = $250.00
Total = Pay Out $4,750.00
WESTERN UNION PAYMENT INFORMATION:
Sender's Name =
Question: = Trust?
Answer = In God
Amount: = $4,500.00
payment information was pending as a result of A STOP ORDER
NOTIFICATION imposed on your payment by the Federal Ministry of Finance
stating that Western Union Money Transfer should hold on in completing
your payment as there was a signal from Foreign Monetary
Section on International Settlement Unit that you have not PAID for
your Contract Award Payment Normalization which should be the last step
before the transfer takes effect.
Based on this development, you
are urgently required to pay the sum of $67.00 for the Normalization of
your payment award certification by the Ministry of Finance Republic of
Benin and you have to pay for the Normalization Fee as a result of the
foreign payment regulations of (section 112) paragraph 17D of the Benin
Government which was amended in 2004 and in section 427 of 2005
constitution which affects financial alliance. An Payment Normalization
Certificate will be issued on your payment file and a copy will be
forwarded to you and a copy to our Western Union Department from the
Ministry of Finance together with Transfer Approval Writ and we will
begin our operation in transferring money to you in next 1 hours ONCE
THE 67.00 USD is received and all the correct Western Union pick up
details will be forwarding to you and you will pick up the $4,500 from
Western Union today.
Note: it is our humbly responsibility to
make sure that your outstanding funds payment did not go into a wrong
hand once you make the payment for the Payment Normalization, as the
Ministry of Finance BENIN REPUBLIC (M O F) will be fully responsible to
make sure that your funds is been remitted to you on daily basis
because they are in close watch over the transfer to monitor the out
SO YOU WILL ADVISED TO SEND THE NORMALIZATION VIA WESTERN UNION WITH THE INFORMATION GIVEN BELOW;
The Normalization Fee will be paid through Western Union as stated below.
1.RECEIVER NAME:............ Mr Michael Chikeluo
2.COUNTRY:.......... Republic of Benin
4.TEST QUESTION:................... Trust
5.TEST ANSWER:......In God
6.AMOUNT:...................$ 67.00 USD
us the MTCN number immediately you send the money and as soon as we
confirm the normalization fee of $67.00 we will send you the first
receipt of your $4,500 today in no less than 1 hours upon the receipt.
Thanks for your understanding and compliance.
If you have questions or need assistance, our team is here to help. You can call us on +229-99-211 482 or better still, send us an email.
DR LEWIS M.BROWN
TEl: +229 99211482
Western Union Money Transfer Agent Location, EMS Post Office.
Registered No: 1026167Head Office: PO Box 6992 Greenwood Village,
CO 80155-6992, Cotonou Bnein Republic. Phone +229 99 211 482.