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. )
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union Office <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2011 14:58:03 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Good News Western Union Special New Bonus
Welcome to Western Union
Send Money Worldwide
451 Borlaji Road Cototnu.
Contact Person: Mr BENJAMIN NWEKE
Western UnionÂ office Special
This is to notify you about the latest development
concerning all the payment that are left in our custody, which yours are
inclusive,Besides your where given a bill ofÂ in order to receive your
payment of which we didnât hear from you for sometime now....Hence, our Western
UnionÂ is now offering a Special BONUS to help all our customers that are having
their paymentÂ in our custody due to of prices. In order words we are now
requesting that those involve should pay only the sum of $73 to receive all
their payment abandoned in our custody.
Besides, my dear, this is the
opportunity for you and have to comply and your fundsÂ shall be transfer to your
designated address.But remember that after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment
then we will divert your funds to Government Fund, to avoid problem or we will
cancel the payment for this year until next yearÂ because this year is not like
Again after (THREE DAYS ) We will enter A new projectÂ for
the year and that is the reason why we decided to help to all our customers
before we enter into the new project.So beÂ advise to send the $73 immediately
so that we will register your payment and for to start receive $5,000 as from
Be advise that there is no time again for we to call any
person on phone unless you will call +229-99035386
E-mail (email@example.com) After the payment
of $73Â you will start receiving your money everyÂ day $5,000 through Western
Union Send the money through Western Union Money Transfer with the information
Receiver's Name== Iyke Okeke
Country== Cotonou, Benin
Text Question== Year
The moment i receive the payment
of $73 i will release the first payment information of $5,000 to you and you
will pick up the money and i will send you another money. Hoping to hear from
THANKS FOR OUR PATRONAGE,
FORIGN OPERATION MANAGER
WESTERN UNION OFFICE
BENIN REPUBLIC .
B: DO LET ME KNOW THAT YOU GOT
THIS MAIL FOR RECORD PURPOSES ONLY.