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. )
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- 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: WESTERN UNION OFFICE <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:47:51 +0800 (CST)
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL MESSAGE FROM WESTERN UNION
Address: No 1/6 st Akpapa Segbeya.
Benin Republic West Africa
We are happy to inform you that US$1.200,000,00 was transferred to this bank two days ago on your name for onward remittance to you through western union payment due to your inability to receive the total funds from bank to bank transfer and to avoid more delays or the request for one document or the other .We have already wired the first US$5000,00 to you right now, Down here is the payment information except Question and answer and remaining 4 digit of the MTCN
Sender's Name:......... Clarence Peters
Amount sent:........ $5000.00
But the directors of this payment says that you will have to update/renew your file for the payment before we will give you the full information to pickup the money , The total money on your name here is US$1.200,000,00 .We will be sending $5,000.Usd Twice a day to you everyday untill the payment is completed.
The update /renewal of your file here will cost you $88.00 only .Please You are advice to adhere to this directive so that we can meet up with the time scheduled for the sending $10,000,00 to you everyday untill you receive the total US$1.200,000.00,Please don't go for pick up untill I give you the question/answer and remaining 4 digit of MTCN.
Get back to me so I can give you the name you will send the $75.00 to us here in Republic of Benin .
You can call me for more details :
DIRECTOR OF OPERATION
CHARTERED BANK PLC