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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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. )
- "money transfer control number" (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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: HEAD OFFICE BENIN <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2011 15:30:38 +0530 (IST)
Subject: FROM THE WESTERN UNION DEPARTMENT
Â 5,000 Usd Sent..
FROM THE WESTERN UNION
HSC 1894 WESTERN BENIN REPUBLIC
MR.AMBREW MATTEW (CFE -
ADDRESS: 7-11 MOORGATE, BENIN EC2R
/07342/01/10Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â WESTERN UNION MONEY
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â INSTALLMENTAL
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Website: www.westernunion.com
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
WESTERN UNION INSTALLMENTAL PAYMENT ONLY.
Attention; (Your Payment
This is to officially inform you that we have verified
your contract inheritance file presently on my desk, and we found out that you
have not received your payment due to lack of co-operation and not fulfilling
the obligations giving to you in respect to your contract inheritance and
lottery payment through your payment bank.
Your Over-due payment please
confirm for immediate release. Get back to me immediately for necessary steps
concerning your inheritance. Sequel to your none reply of my earlier email to
you dated Today. On behalf of the Trustees and Executors to your inheritance
file of Funds month ago, I wish to notify
Â you that your name And Email
Address appeared in the Central computing system in our ministry as the rightful
owner for the unpaid beneficiary as the statement of the Funds and you entitled
part payment of your total inheritance funds of $2.5 Million through Western
Union Money Transfer System Easter celebration in this New Year season as
authorized by Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Reserve, with the Central
After the Law Enforcement judgment between the BENIN REPUBLIC
ORGANIZATION Agent Mr. Goldman Smith and Compensation finance head office, The
meeting held today, with the aforementioned Office and Banks, the Concluded
arrangement has appointed our office (Western Union Money Transfer) to pay your
unpaid fund through western union electronic system for your easy pickup and to
avoid further unforeseen delay that could make your fund not to get to you in a
The Management of the BENIN REPUBLIC ORGANISATION HEAD
BRANCH here in West BENIN have submitted your name, city and country
informationâs to our office for endorsement & daily activation of your
payment which has been programmed to be transferred under installment at rate of
$5,000 United States America Dollars daily as Western Union laws here does not
allow transferring funds above $5,000 at once from this country to another, but
will be sending under installment of $5,000 daily till the amount is completely
In other words, We have today transferred your first installment
payment available for your Pick-Up at any western union office nearest to you,
(but The Money Is still on hold) due to the unpaid endorsement & daily
activation file fee amount of 79 USD you supposed to pay before your daily
transfer will be made available to you daily.
Secondly, you are hereby
advice to stop dealing with your present transaction either from AFRICA/Europe
they are Fraudulent Offices and the non-officials member of the Bank as this is
an illegal act and You have to stop further communication, if you wish to
receive your payment immediately through the Western Union Office.
will pickup the below installmental payment at any western union office nearest
to you with the below information's as soon as you send the 49 USD endorsement
& daily activation file fee today. You are to track your first installmental
payment online at www.westernunion.com OR Call Western Union
tracking number 1-800-325-6000 for available fund for your verification
Below is the Western Union Details for you record, You can Track
it online now.
Transfer Control Number (M.T.C.N):Â #Â 6755783984
senders first name : Kim
Senders last name : Sambat
Amount : 5,000 USD
MTCN : 6755783984
You are advised toÂ re-confirm to me your details as required below to
enable the release of your payment total funds worth $2.5 Million to you as a
matter of urgency with the required below details:-
(1). Re-confirm your
(2). Re-confirm Contact address:
(3). Re-confirm valid Phone
(7). Mode of
NAME........................... NWEKWU MIRACLE
wish to inform you based on a lot of junks mail flying over the internet and
some people are using advantage to collect account information from people on
internet for fraudulent purpose, that is while it was assigned and approved by
International Monetary Fund (IMF) that your payment will come through Western
Union Money Transfer system and also your funds as been programmed to be release
to you through western union, twice a day, after collection.
as the above are provided, Western Union department in conjunction with Federal
Ministry of Finance will contact you with the West ern Union Payment information
to enable you cash your money daily. The amount you will be receiving twice per
day is US$5,000.00 and the MTCN number will be sending along with the Text
Questions & Answers for you to receive your fund through any Western Union
Location in your Country due to IMF Control, IRS and Home Land
Our Regards and we are sorry for the inconvenience please bear
Thanks for your co-operation and Waiting to hear from you
We look forward to serving you better.
NAME:.DR AMBREW MATTEW
to Dr. Mansur Muhtar (OFR)
Honorable Minister of Finance.