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:
- "dear friend" (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. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
- 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: Green <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 22:10:38 +0530 (IST)
Subject: Hi Money Sent #:440 876 3361 $5000.00 USD
WELCOME TO WESTERN
UNION MONEY TRANSFER
Western Union®Welcome to
Send Money Worldwide
FROM OFFICE OF THE WESTERN UNION MONEY
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC/ADDRESS 455 AGBOKOU,ANKPA
TUNDE MOTORS COTONOU.
Tell +229 99666 825
Western Union email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello My Dear Friend IMF Grant
Attn: Receipt, This Message is
from (I.M.F) and Federal Ministry of Finance Burkina-Faso, This is to let you
know that after the board meeting held at our headquarters Yesterday, your VISA
ATM CARD USD$1.5Million has been cashed and the first $5,000 was sent today.
We have concluded to release
and effect your payment through western union $5,000 Daily until the
$1.500.000.00 is completed. The information is below: First Payment has been
send: MTCN: 440 876 3361 NOTE; this payment was directed to be made available
in your name but you have to re-new your Payment file with The Western union as
to enable them purchasing your transfer file to prevent illegal transfer before
you pick it up.
We instructed the western union
office to Keep sending you $5,000.00 daily until the payment of $1.500.000.00 is
completed, again re-confirm your address to them by avoid sending it to wrong
person so that they will be sure; MTCN: 440 876 3361 Sender First Name; Uakea
Sender Last Name: Teono Track your payment on the website:
Person Mr. George Obukweli of Westen Union Agency if any problem to enable him
issue to you the text question and answer so that you can pick up the
below email is his office
email address:(email@example.com) forward him your Telephone number and address
so that he will be sure and you can also call him on his telephone number: (+229
99 666 825,) as soon as you received this message to enable him work on your
payment file immediately ok.
TAKE NOTE: that because of
internet hackers we ask the Western Union office not to mark the payment paid
yet until you re-new your transfer file so when track This payment it will show
picked up or not exist, it is from the Western Union office. View more details
about me Currently IMF is giving out special grant on Economic empowerment
program to selected corporate entities and charitable organizations around the
globe for The outstanding role and tangible performance in area of eradicating
perverting and industrial empowerment.
YOUR FIRST PAYMENT INFORMATION.
MTCN NUMBER FOR YOU=== 440 876
SENDERS NAMES ========= UAKEA TEONO
Our transfer charges is only
$79 and you can send the fee through Western Union Money Transfer with the
information below befor picking of the USD$5000 today ,
COUNTRY: === Benin
Text Question== How Long?
After you have sent your
transfer charges $79 Dollars Kindly go to western union this with information
and pick up your first transfer.
Dr Mr. Zack
Atlantic Bank Western Union
Office Benin Republic
THIS IS OUR CONDUCT CODE (303)