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. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "MR.EDWIN BRADLEY." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2011 11:48:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: CONTACT BARRISTER TO SIGN YOUR TOTAL FUND,
ATTN: MY DEAR
I WRITE TO INFORM YOU THAT I HAVE OBTAIN ALL THE
DOCUMENT THAT WILL COVER YOUR PAYMENT EVERY DAY SO ONCE WE START TRANSFER YOUR
PAYMENT TO YOU NOTHING WILL STOP IT AGAIN BECAUSE ALL THE DOCUMENT WE HAVE
OBTAIN ARE OK,
But the only problem
we are having right here is your personal signatures which the federal
administer of fund Benin republic requested that you must signed on these
certificate before we can commence on your fund transfer.
I personal told the officer in charge that it will not
be necessary for you to come down here due to your occupation or any other thing
that may in hinder you to come down here and signed the document in
But the Minster administrator of fund said if you can
not able to come down here in person, that you must get an attorney who will
signed those certificates on your behalf.
And I personal believe that this is the only way we
are going to succeed on this very fund transfer, so I want out to look for a
good lawyer who will do the signing on your behalf after all my effort I have
being able to get Barrister Mike Agu who agree to signed the certificate on your
behalf with the sum of $130, but I pleaded with him to signed the certificate on
your behalf at least when you received your first installment of $5,000 you will
pay him the $130 with interest, but he refused and said if you can not be able
to come up with the total fee right now, you can send the half of the payment
which is the sum of $65.then once you received your first payment of $5000 you
will pay the balance of $65 with interest.
If you are satisfied
with the above directives kindly send the half of the fee to the attorney with
the information below:
Barrister Mike Agu
SEND THIS NEEDED $65 NOW THROUGH WESTERN UNION MONEY
TRANSFER WITH THE INFORMATIONS BELLOW:
Senders Name; ------
As soon as the attorney confirm the fee from you he
will signed the certificate on your behalf so that we can start on your fund
Bear it in mind that
your total fund is the sum of $1.5 million and you will be receiving the sum of
$5,000 per day until you received your total fund completely.
Get back to me once
you made the payment to the attorney so that he can signed the certificate today
to enable us commence on your fund transfer.
FROM WESTERN UNION
MASSAGE TODAY MR.EDWIN BRADLEY.
Phone Number +22998952802