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.
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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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
- 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.
- 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: Western Union <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2011 07:30:19 +0000
Subject: Contact Western Union MTCN 831-143-667(-)
FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
COTONOU, REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
How are you today with your family? well we want to inform you that your $5000 is ready to be release now , we wave out all the fees that holding the $5000 to be release to you since , you are advise to pay $75 for releasing the $5000 , the reason why you are paying this $75 is that barrister who signed all your documents on behalf of you need this $75.
So hurry up today and send the $75 to him through western union with this information stated bellow.
Receiver name-------Mr Uzor Okoye
Country------------ Benin Republic
Address------------112 Akpakpa Road Cotonou
Please make sure you send the $75 today to avoid you loosing this payment this week, The name of the Barrister who signed those documents on your behalf is MR John Uba, try your possible best and send the $75, the $5000 was already sent to you , this is the MTCN 831-143-667(-) but it is 9 in number untill you send the $75 for the barrister and once he receive the $75 i will release the ONE NUMBER to you to pick up the $5000 from any western union near you.
PERSON IN CHARGE OF THE PAYMENT,
MR TERRY COLE
call him with this number +22999035386
THE CHOICE IS YOURS NOW TO MAKE
Western Union® Money Transfer,
Head Office Benin Republic.
Send Money Worldwide