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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Jean Musa." <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2012 15:56:33 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: MTCN:=========== 005-876-6817
I write this to inform you that we have sent your first payment of $
5,000.00 USD today to address, through Western Union as we received the mandate
to transfer your sum total of all compensation (two million dollers STATE- USA),
via Western Union, by the authorities (IMF / Senators COMMITTEE OF PAYMENT
Meanwhile, the first transfer of $ 5,000.00 USD was sent to you and I have
listed the information below so you can pick it pament First, to enable us send
another USD $ 5000.00 tomorrow, as you know that we will only send you $
5,000.00 USD per every two days.Note: You need to contact Mr. Anthony Robert STU
Director of the Department WESTERN UNION payment in the Republic of Benin, with
costs to enable the release of valuable information for you to pick your first
payment of any Western Union in your country, because there is already
transferred your first payment of $ 5,000.00 USD, but it Was put on hold due to
the validation costs $ 45.00USD, and try to call you immediately e-mailed
Name of Director: Dr. Robert Anthony
Email Address: ( firstname.lastname@example.org
telephone number +229 99 88 3009
Here are the details of payment
Western Union to collect the $ 5,000.00 USD. Once you send the cost of
validation, then released on informationto so you can go to any western union
and pick up your money immediately.
Name of sender: =========???
Question: ========= validation
A: =========== costs
=========== $ 5000.00USD
Country: =========== Republic of
Suer do you follow up the investigation of Western Union by sending the $
45.00USD so they will give you valuable information to collect your first
payment of $ 5.000USD, send them the validation costs $ 45.00USD with this
1. Name of recipient: ======= Peter Ejike
/ Country: ========== Cotonou - Benin Republic.
3. Question ===========
4. Answer: ============ today
5. Amonut: ============ $
6. MTCN: =============
7. Sender's name ========
Thank you, thank you s much for your cooperation.
Yours in service,
Mr. John Musa.
(Supervisor of Western Union in
Regulated by the delivery services of the Authority.