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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union Money Transfer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2011 13:04:48 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Please i beg u to hurry up today so that the hackers and bad people in internet will not harm your two payments.Here is details of awaiting payments
FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR
UNION MONEY TRANSFER
COTONOU, REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
DEAR VALUED CUSTOMER,
On very serious note i must tell
you that I'm not happy on the way you are delaying this transfer,you are very
much aware that both of us have invested a lot of money and time over this
transfer.Please i beg you with name of God and all that is holy to get back to
us today regarding your payment.Heavenly God knows that I'm angry now over your
delay and silent,please i beg you to get back to us immediately just for the
sake of i who is suffering on your behalf here and your funds and money have
I have told you early that reason why this payment is
taking you long to receive is due to your allocation code transfer but the
office in charge have agreed to issue it toÂ us with only $75 so that we can
settle your payment and both of us will have rest of mind.I want to promise you
and guarantee you that you must surely receive your payment this time,I'm saying
all these to you simple because i have made all the necessary arrangement with
the concern offices.
The heavenly God knows that i will never be happy
with you if we lost this funds because i have done a lot over this matter,in
this case I'm calling on your urgent attention and immediate response regarding
the issue of needed $75.The office in charge of the allocation code have given a
concrete guarantee paper that you must surely start receiving your payment if
not your $75 will be refundable to you.
it is quite understand that you
have spentÂ a lot over this transfer butÂ please i have final found a solution
and a way for you to start receiving your funds at least to have smile on face
once again and be able to pay up your debits and bills.
Like i said,
please do not disappoint me again because i have made all arrangement with the
concerned office that you must confirm your first $5,000 today below is details
of your two $5,000 it is right now on our system waiting to pick up by you the
beneficiary.Since we have found out the solution to get this transfer done is
Area code and allocation code then we must add it in our network before you will
be able to pick up the payments in nearest western union to you.ThisÂ is because
we are sending big amount out and that is how it use to be any time big amountÂ
is been sending out through western union network.
Please i beg u to
hurry up today so that the hackers and bad people in internet will not harm your
two payments.Here is details of awaiting payments
Senders First Name: ozekwe
Senders Last Name: lawrence
question: In God
Answer: We Trust
Sender's First Name:___ EMMANUEL
Sender's Last Name:_____
Text question: In God
free to TRACK the info online so you will confirm the money available now. use
matter of urgent we expect you to use the below info to send the said $75 today
as your first payment were already on our wire network to avoid
RECEIVER NAME; IWUNOR CHINEDU
TEST QUESTION; IN GOD
E-MAIL US @ email@example.com
DISPATCHED THIS DAY. FOR
INQUIRY, CALL Â +229-98679345Â
Head Office Benin