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.
- 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 (Yahoo, Germany; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: OFFICE FILE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 01:31:37 +0100 (BST)
Subject: YOUR FULL RESPECT,
YOUR FULL RESPECT,
THIS DEPARTMENT OFFICE WESTERN UNION HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO SEND YOUR
FUND TO YOUR LOCATION IN YOUR CITY FROM THE DIAMOND WESTERN UNION
DEPARTMENT HERE IN BENIN REPUBLIC.YOU WILL BE RECEIVING YOUR FUND
($4,500 U.S.D) PER DAY AND YOU WILL RECEIVE THE TOTAL SUM OF
($650.000.00 Us dollars) I WANT TO USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO INFORM YOU
THAT GOVERNMENT IS PLANING TO CANCEL YOUR WINNER FUNDS AND TRANSFER IT
INTO GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS IF WE DID NOT HEAR FROM YOU WITHIN 2DAYS, YOU
ARE REQUIRED TO SEND US OUR TRANSFER CHARGES THE SUM OF$49.00 USD FOR
THE $4,500 USD THAT WE HAVE ALREADY SEND, MEANWHILE SEND THE$49.00USD TO
US IMMEDIATELY TODAY FOR FASTER SENDING OF YOUR FUND CORRECTLY BY
AFTER THE MONEY HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED CORRECTLY TO YOUR ADDRESS WE WILL
MAIL YOU THE PAYMENT INFORMATION'S YOU NEED TO PICK UP YOUR MONEY IN ANY
WESTERN UNION AROUND YOUR LOCATION CORRECTLY BECAUSE THE ONE THAT IS
HERE I SNOT CORRECT BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED OUR $49.00 USD
ONLY.REASON WHY WE NEED YOU TO SEND US THE $49.00 USD IS THAT WE TRIED
TO DEDUCT THE TRANSFERRING FEE OUT FROM YOUR FUND BUT THE MINISTER
ADMINISTRATOR TRUST FUND OF BENIN REPUBLIC TOLD US THAT NO ONE HAS RIGHT
OVER YOUR FUND AS IT HAVE BEEN SIGNED AND STAMPED THAT NO MONEY SHOULD
BE DEDUCTED UNTIL IT GETS TO YOUR HANDS TO AVOID STEALING SOME OF THE
FUNDS SO IF YOU WANT TO TRACK THE MONEY AND CONFIRM IF THE FUNDS IS
TRANSFERRED ENTER OUR CODE
HERE IS THE CONTACT INFORMATION OF WESTERN UNION
DIRECTOR GENERAL----MR.BLAZE DURUKANTA
EMAIL ADDRESS ... Email :(email@example.com)
PHONE NUMBER +229-99 88 35 99
THEN CLICK TRACKING AND ENTER THE MTCN NUMBER; 3771704680 ENTER
SENDERS FIRST PIUS .....ENTER
SENDERS LAST NAME..OGUGUA AND CLICK TRACKING AND IT WILL SHOW YOU THAT
YOUR FUNDS IS AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO PICK IT UP SENDER NAME: PIUS
SENDER'S NAME:==== PIUS OGUGUA
TEXT QUESTION:=======Who Is Able
MTCN :================== 457-2008-041
ASAP FINALLY URGENT SEND US THE $49.00 USD TO ENABLE US PROCEED ON YOUR
PAYMENT IMMEDIATELY RIGHT. BELOW IS OUR ACCOUNT'S INFORMATION FOR YOU TO
SEND THE $49.00 USD THROUGH WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER BEEN OUR
TRANSFERRING CHARGE FOR YOUR
1.Receiver Name :=======Usman Zaiky
2.City/Country:==========Cotonou - Benin Republic.
3.Question=============Who is Able
YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED .WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU AS SOON
AS YOU RECEIVE THIS MESSAGE TO QUICKEN THE PROCESS OF THE RELEASING YOUR
PAYMENT TO YOU TODAY.
THEN CONTACT US WITH YOUR FULL INFORMATION.
EMAIL ADDRESS :(firstname.lastname@example.org)
PHONE NUMBER :+229-99 88 35 99