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"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.

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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:

Fraud email example:

From: "David Smith" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2011 07:19:32 -0700
Subject: Orphaned MTCNs For Eight Countries.

Dear Friend,

I work FOR WESTERN UNION. I am Director of Transaction Security for eight nations in west Africa, Europe , America, Asia (but I am based in London).

I have an idea that can make both of us a LOT OF MONEY.

Every year, thousands of Western Union transfers are never picked up by the recipient. Most are small ($50 to $200) but some are over $1,000.00. Even though many transactions are small, if you pick up a lot of these, you can make a lot of money quickly.

The usual reason a transaction was not picked up is this: A tourist gets robbed or loses his wallet. He asks relatives in the USA to send him money via Western Union Secure. He gets home without picking up the money. Then he discovers that the money can only be picked up in the country where he was traveling - it is not worth his time to travel back for $100, so he forgets about it. These abandoned transactions are called "orphans" here at Western Union. There are thousands of them!

After 180 days, the MTCN number drops off the web and can no longer be checked on the internet. But it is still a good MTCN, and I HAVE ACCESS TO ALL THE ORPHAN MTCN'S FOR EIGHT NATIONS.

I cannot travel myself to claim these money - it would be suspicious for a man in my position with Western Union to travel to Africa, and then to have a lot of orphan transactions getting paid out. What I can do is give you the MTCN's, give you the question and the answer for each transaction, and change the name of the recipient to your name.

As a test, I will send you 20 relatively small MTCN numbers (total about $2,000) for whichever country you want out of my set of eight countries. You pick up the money. You send me one-half BY MONEY GRAM so that it cannot be traced to me.

Once you send me one-half, I will send you another set of 20 MTCN's. Then another. Then another. And then another. There are thousands of these orphan MTCN's in each of my eight countries. Many of these transactions are larger than $500, and some are in excess of $1,000.

If you fail to send me 1/2, you will never hear from me again. But if you are faithful in sending me my percentage, I will send you lots of MTCNS!

To reactivate all those orphaned MTCN to reflect in the western union website we will require $800 dollars to reactivate 20 set of MTCN at once.

Once you agree i will send you the first twenty set upon your cooperation and trust.

Are you interested? What country are you in?

David Smith

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