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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- "below is the details of " (this email uses bad English)
- "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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. ANTHONY AMUZIE" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 04:21:56 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: FIRST PAYMENT OF $5,000 USD AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP BY YOU VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY
FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
COTONOU, REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
CUSTOMER CARE: ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
THE OFFICE OF WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER URGENTLY NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION ON
THE ISSUE OF $500.000.00 USD THAT WAS DIRECTED IN CASH CREDITED TO FILE
THE FUNDS COMES DIRECT FROM THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND.
IN REGARDS TO IT THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND HEAD OFFICE HAS ORDERED US
TODAY TO CONTACT YOU IN PERSON TO MAKE THE URGENT TRANSFER OF THE FUNDS TO YOU
BY MAKING THE MTCN OF $5,000.00 USD AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP BY YOU.
BELOW IS THE DETAILS OF THE PAYMENT MADE BY ME IN REGARDS TO MAKE THE AMOUNT
OF THE $5,000.00 USD AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO PICK UP.
SENDERS NAME: ANTHONY AMUZIE
AMOUNT: $5,000.00 USD
VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO TRACK/CONFIRM ONLINE:WWW.WESTERNUNION.COM
AND YOU ARE ADVICE TO MAKE FORTH THE SUM OF $135 USD FOR THE ACTIVATION OF THE
TEXT QUESTION AND ANSWER AFTER YOU HAVE TRACK THE FUND ONLINE TO KNOW IF IT IS
AVAILABLE FOR PICK UP BY YOU.
MAKE THE PAYMENT OF THE $155 USD AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THIS MESSAGE TO GET IN
TOUCH IMMEDIATELY TO ACTIVATE THE TEXT QUESTION AND ANSWER BECAUSE THE PAYMENT
SLIP WHICH YOU ARE USING TO MAKE THE PAYMENT WILL BE USE ALONG WITH THE SERIAL
YOU ARE TO MAKE THE PAYMENT WITH THE DETAILS BELOW
RECEIVER NAME:................MR ELIAS EMEKA
AMOUNT: $135 USD ONLY
TEXT AND QUESTION: TRUST
YOUR IMMEDIATE RESPONDS WILL BE HIGHLY APPRECIATED AND ACT ON AS WELL TO
RECEIVE YOUR FIRST PAYMENT OF $5,000.00 USD DAILY BECAUSE YOU ARE
RECEIVING THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $500,000.00 USD.
ALSO AS SOON AS YOU MAKE THE PAYMENT KINDLY GET BACK TO US WITH YOUR
YOUR FULL NAMESâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
DATE OF BIRTHâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
NOTE: THAT YOURE FUNDS WILL BE TRANSFERRED BACK TO THE IMF HEADQUARTERS AFTER
2 WORKING DAYS IF YOU DON'T MEET UP WITH THE PAYMENT OF THE TEXT QUESTION AND
ANSWER BY THE IMF.
MR. ANTHONY AMUZIE
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