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. )
- "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.
- 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: INTERNATION TREASURY DEPARTMENT <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 08:51:21 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Attention and Greetings
International Treasury Department
Contact Person Mr. Collins Lumba .
Address 14 Rue de Jerico
Province/State Country/Region Benin
Zip Code 00229 Phone Number +229-98124803
Attention and Greetings:
I am Mr. Collins Lumba, The Chair person in charge of Treasury
Department, International wire transfers of Benin Republic
Federal Ministry of Finance.
I want to inform you that your Payment File was brought to my desk
today to Cancel because the director & management of the WESTERN UNION MONEY
transfer have decleared to divert your fund to the government treasury account
just because you can not pay the signed wire transfer fee. In reasoning wisely
to this complain i told them to wait untill i hear from you today so that i will
know the reason why you decide to rejected such amount of money USD$2.5Million
which is your righful & legal overdue inheritance payment just because
of signed wire transfer fee.
The reason why i sent this email to you is because its your sweat
and for this reason you still have this last chance to claim your fund if you
can send USD$55.00 today because i have already arranged your wires ready for
its daily wires to you but failling to do this, i will allow them to have power
over your fund and am very sorry if you failed as this is the last
Therefore, send the USD$55.00 immediately you receive this email
today and email your full name and address to me if you want your USD$2.5Million
be send to you by western union money transfer but the maximum amount officially
allow for it per day day wire to you is USD$6,000.00 per day until you receive
your complete USD$2.5Million from here .
The second option is for you to send me the full detail of your
bank account if you want your fund be fully transfer by direct bank to bank wire
transfer to your account at once. After you have sent the $55.00 and email me
the mtcn numbers, you are to indicate your wish to receive your funds as i have
stated above and the funds will be release to you without any
Here is the western union information in the name of my accountant
to avoid delay in receiving your fund and remember that i have done my best for
you and i will make sure that your wire will begin to be releasing to you from
the moment you sent this $55.00 .
Send the $55.00 now and send me email with the western union mtcn
numbers when you send the money , you can aswell call me on this number
+229-98124803 when you have sent the money now ok .
Receivers Name:...Anagor L. Ifezue
Pay-Out Country:... Benin-Republic
Pay-Out City :
Test Question:.. OUR HOPE
Answer :.. GOD.
Amount to send:
SEND MTCN NUMBER....
Send it and email the MTCN control number, amount sent, name and
address of sender to me for easy collection
Mr. Collins Lumba .
Treasury Department, International
transfers, Federal Ministry of Finance Benin Republic.