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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Office File <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 17:15:12 +0530 (IST)
Subject: This is in acknowledge to your payment Date: 23/09/2011
Location western union money
6992 greenwood village, co 80155-6992
Cotonou, Benin Rep
is in acknowledge to your payment Date: 23/09/2011
We 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.
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 below:
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 fund)-
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-
the below receiver details to send the $70 through Western
Receiver: Mrs.Thelma N.Chuba
Location: 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 daily.
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
66044745. for immediate
MTCN 10 Digit Number:
Full Sender Name
fund is still there so please hurry up so that you will pull it out today okay i
await you with the payment MTCN..
Reply to confirm receipt of this
Yours in service.
Dr .Dean Johnson
Director,WUMT Benin HQ.