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. )
- "hundred thousand united state dollars" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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 PAYMENT OFFICE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2011 17:24:45 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: YOUR MTCN,, 434-659-4639,IS AVAILABLE FOR PICK UP TODAY
We write to inform you officially that
the Board of Director of the Debt Reconciliation Center,Inconjuction
with the Federal Republic of Nigeria,Federal Ministry of Finance
Nigeria, Western union Agent Akpakpa with the UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION
has approved the payment sum of $850,000,00(FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND
UNITED STATE DOLLARS) as a DEPT RECONCILIATION PAYMENT, for your
Winning funds with Compensation Head office, deposited by the Uk
Lottery Organisation for payment to you as the Winning
owner/Beneficiary of the amount $850,000.00usd.
After the Law Enforcement judgement
between the UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION Agent Mr. Goldman Smith and
Compensation finance head office, The meeting held on the 2th of Nvo,
2011,with the aformentioned office and banks, the Concluded arrangement
has appointed our office (Western Union Money Transfer) to pay your
unpaid Winning fund through western union electronic system for your
easy pickup and to avoid further unforeseen delay that could make your
fund not to get to you in a timely manner.
The Management of the UK LOTTERY
ORGANISATION HEAD BRANCH here in West Africa have submitted your name,
city and country informationâs to our office for endorsement &
daily activation of your payment which has been programmed to be
transfered under instalment at rate of $5,500.00 daily as Western Union
laws here does not allow transferring funds above $5.500.00 at once
from this country to another, but will be sending under instalment of
$5,500.00 daily till the amount is completely paid.
In other words. We have today
transferred your first instalment payment available for your pickup at
any western union office nearest to you, but still on hold due to the
unpaid endorsement & daily activation file fee amount of $98.00 you
supposed to pay before you can pick up your first installment today.
You will pick up the bellow instalment
at any western union office nearest to you with bellow information's as
soon as you send the $98 endorsement & daily activation file fee.
Immediately the Activation is made, You can pick up your first
instalment payment online at www.westernunion.com OR Call Western Union
tracking number 1-800-325-6000 for avaiable fund verification purpose.
Sender's First Name:James
Sender's Last Name: Davis
(Track the mtcn by dialing 1-800-325-6000 or https://wumt.westernunion.com/asp/orderStatus.asp?country=global
Text Question: Sport?
Amount Programmed: $5,500.00
NOTE: YOU CAN NOT PICK UP YOUR FIRST INSTALLMENT PAYMENT, UNTIL YOU MEET UP WITH THE ACTIVATION CHARGES OF $98.00
To Avoid any atom of mistake, you are
hereby required to reconfirm your payment receiver's name and address
to avoid any mistake of payment activation during activation process of
your payment as soon as the daily endoursement charges is paid.
Reconfirm the information as given to you below.
Receiver's Tel. Number :
Please note that the receiver's
information is very vital to us as the activation of your daily
instalment will be directing to your receiver's name and address.
The endorsement & daily activation
file fee of $98 will be sending to our office here in care to
............ through any western union nearest to you:
Receiver's Name: Nkechikwulu Rapheal
Country: Benin Republic,
City ; Cotonou
Text Question: God Is ?
As soon as you send the fee, send us
the transfer Mtcn to help us proceed with immediate transfer release of
your instalment payment.
Once your payment is confirmed, we shall proceed with the activation of
your payment for available pick up in your Name/country/Address.Notice:
This payment was approved by the federal ministry of finances Abuja,
Nigeria to beneficiary only.
We anticipate your kind co-operation.
Thanks For Using Western Union Office.
Mr. James Davis