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. )
- "we advice you" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS.ALICIA BILL" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2011 03:47:45 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: ATTENTION:BENEFICIARY,YOUR PAYMENT MTCN:5431238115
Address: Plot 1261, Adeola Hopewell Street CO/B/REP,
Republic Of Benin Email: (email@example.com
DEAR VALUED CUSTOMER
Sequel to the meeting held today with United States Government, through
Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Government have warn
you to stop further communication/dealing with any banks that have no
website due to fraud going on worldwide. Any banks that is contacting
you without website is scam. Please view our website now:
www.westernunion.com, We advice you not contact any other person that
mighty contact you again concerning this fund $800.000.00. Since we are
rounding up for the Qatar final of the year all our customer care
service will call you as soon as possible to enable you pick up your
daily $5,000.00 in your country.
The United States Government instructed us to be paying you via western
union to you under installment of Five Thousand Dollars daily till the
amount is completely paid to you, we have transferred your first
installment payment today for your pick-up at any western union
worldwide, but still on-hold due to none Federal Bureau of
Investigation Clean Bill of Transfer Document in your payment file,
which will cost you ($95.00) You are require to pay before your daily
transfer will be made available to you today.
Track your first payment online now using senders first name and last
name as directed below:
MTCN : 5431238115
SENDERS FIRST NAME: PAUL
SENDERS LAST NAME: CHIOZIE
SENDERS FIRST NAME:JANE
SENDERS LAST NAME: GRIEF
Track your first installment of Five Thousand Dollars daily online now,
You are requiring paying for Federal Bureau of Investigation Clean Bill
of Transfer Document fee to Mr. Anthony Nwankwo. and send copy of your
ID which you will use to pick up your daily $5,000.00 in your country.
Receiver's Name: Nneife Emmanuel
Address: COTONOU, BENIN REPUBLIC
Text Question: WHEN?
Text Answer: SOON
Amount: $95 Dollars Only.
Our customer care service will call you as soon as possible to enable
you pick up your daily $5,000.00 in your country. As soon as we receive
the MTCN of Federal Bureau of Investigation Clean Bill of Transfer
Document of ($95.00) for security and safety purpose, I have sent your
daily $5,000.00 today and you can pick up the money at any Western
TELEPHONE NUMBER +229 98952802.
Western Union Payment Officer