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:
- 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)
- 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: WESTERN UNION <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 20:49:15 +0100 (BST)
Subject: PAYMENT Approval Details MTCN.
Vital Finance Institution
Address:Rue 225 Akpaka Express Road ,
Porto-Novo layoutÂ Benin.
Fax: 00229 991594700
REF: TRANSFER DETAIL OFÂ ($900,000.00 USD)
Attention: My Dear Customers
This is to notify you about the latest development concerning all the payment that are left in our custody which yours are inclusive,besides your were given a bill of $150, in order to receive your payment of which we didnât hear from you for sometime now. Hence, our western union Head office is now offering a Special BONUS to help all our customers that are having their payment in our custody due to price. In order words we are now requesting that those involve should pay only the sum of $55. 00 to receive all their payment abandoned in our
Besides my dear, this is the opportunity for you to comply and have your funds transfer to your designated address.Note that after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will divert your funds to Government Treasury,or we will cancel the payment for this year because this year is not like last year. Again after (THREE DAYS ) We will enter A new projectÂ for the year and that is the reason why we decided to helpÂ all our customers before we enter into the new project.
Be advised to send the $55.00 immediately to enable us register your payment and for you to start receiving your $5000 as from tomorrow. Be advise that there is no time again for we to call any person on phone unless you After the payment ofÂ $55.00 you will start receiving your money every day $5000 through western union until your total fund of $900,000.00usd is completely transferred to you.But if like to call me use this only this number 00229-9971-3991 ok
Send the $55 through western union Transfer with the information below,
Receiver's Name===== SAMUEL ONWUJEKWE.
Country===== =======Benin Republic.
Answer== ========For all.
The moment we receive the payment of $55 we will release the first
payment information of $5000. to you for your pick up, We look forward
hearing from you soon. Contact me with this Email:
Foreign Operation Manager.