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. )
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "james" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 08:35:49 -0400
Subject: WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
How are you today?
The below payment has been awarded to you by the Benin Government/World Bank
to compensate you on your past experience with scammers.
I write to inform you that we have already sent you $5,000.00 through Western
Union as we have been given the mandate to transfer your full compensation
payment total sum of $250,000.00 via Western Union by the Government.
I have good authority to email you the MTCN and sender's details to enable you
pick up the first $5,000.00,USD and confirm
receipt to us so as to enable us wire the next USD5,000.00 by tomorrow and
subsequent ones since we can only send USD5,000.00 a day.
Please pick up this information and get to any western union in your country
to pick up the $5,000.00 and email the Western Union outlets incharge of the
payment so that they could send you another payment tomorrow.by
Western Union contact information:
Manager: james ikem.
Email them once you picked up the $5,000.00 today, if there is any problem
with them paying you make sure to contact this Western Union outlet with the
information given to you Bear in mind that you are advice to send the
re-confirmation of your payments files fees the amount is $41.00.Here is the
information to send her the fees through western union office.
RECEIVE NAME:::::::::::::::MR PIUS AKWAOBI
TEXT QUESTION::::::;; BELIEVE
ANSWER::::::::::::: MY WORD
Below is the western union information for pick up:
Sender's First Name: Emmanuel
Sender's Last Name: Chukwuemeka
They will be expecting your email once you pick up the $5,000.00.
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER