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. )
- "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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Remitt@Western Union Office" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2011 13:23:54 +0530 (IST)
Subject: Your Fund release $4500 payout MTCN available for pick up:
Location western union money
Po box 6992 greenwood village, co
Cotonou, Benin Rep
Fax. No;+229, 99674539
is in acknowledge to your payment Date: 20/09/2011
received an authourization order from the payment recoincilliation Board
to transfer your inheritance fund of $1.850,000.00 usd through our
special transfer system and you are required to re-instate your payment
file from the STU office. This resolution takes effect
immediately and you are to send your re-instatement official charge of
$70.00 to the bursary department for onward processing and
uploadment of your daily transfers of $4500 twice daily until
your part payment of $1.850,000.00 usd is paid in full and your
first payment have been send today.
Note, the first payment
has been generated and the MTCN is stated below ( but it have not yet
been uploaded completle to the western union central system for payout
to you so that is why You can not pick it up unstill your payment
instatement file is renew.
SENDER FIRST NAME: LAWRENCE IGBANUGO
MTCN 10 DIGIT: 763-024-0543
TRACK ONLINE ON
Vist our website
and track your transfer online on your personal computer as insructed
Enter our website online www.westernunion.com ,click(track a
transfer) enter the mtcn;(7630240543) put sender first
name(LAWRENCE)follow by sender second name(IGBANUGO) then
click (check status) your will see that your first $4500
transfer is available for pick up by you.but you can not pick it up
because the uploaded is yet to be completed to the western union world
wide central system for payout to you from your
Now you are required to re-instate your payment
folder from STUW office before this transaction can be uploaded to the
central system for you to start picking up your patment
Also, because of the numerous problems that has made
transfers from this part of the world almost impossible, the US Embassy
in collaboration with the CBS and Committee of Afrique Finance Ministers
reached an agreement with the STU department to pay you in full as soon
as your payment file is re-instated with us. Be rest assured that you
will receive your total inheritance money through our special package
and you are advised to send the required re-instatement charges
immediately through Western Union on the information contained in the
payment advice below-
Use the below receiver details to send
the $70 through Western Union.
Receiver: Mrs. Kingsley
Test Question: For
Cotonou Benin Republic
This is the only official requirements needed
and you are given a mandate of 4 days to get this concluded call +229
9689 2185 this office on the payment information so that your transfers
will be uploaded to the western union central worldwide computer system
for onward payments of your daily transfers of $4500 twice
Once the fee is sent do reconfirm to us your correct
receiving details such as your present addres direct phone numberto
avoid any mistake on the uploadement payout, forward to me the below
details for proper verification and Call +22996892185. for immediate
MTCN 10 Digit Number:
Your fund is still there so please hurry up so that you
will pull it out today okay i await you with the payment
Reply to confirm receipt of this mail.
Yours in service.
Dr Anderson D Jose
STU Director,WUMT Benin HQ.