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. )
- "million united states 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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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)
- "is highly confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "WESTERN UNION" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2012 13:34:52 -0800
Subject: VERY URGENT THAT YOU WRITE BACK NOW
HAVE YOU AT ANY TIME SENT OR RECEIVED MONEY THROUGH OUR SERVICE?
HAVE YOU EVER SENT MONEY TO ANY ONE IN AFRICA FOR ANY REASON?
HAVE YOU AT ANY TIME MADE PAYMENT FOR AN ORDER YOU NEVER RECEIVED?
HAVE YOU AT ANY TIME SENT MONEY TO ANY ONE YOU WERE NOT TO?
We ask these questions because your email was provided as a victim of one of the above circumstance so ensure to read this mail carefully to understand the content,basically the account information in this mail is yet activated to your name for withdrawal as the receiver basically because this mail is to officially inform you that, we have verified the failures encountered in your funds transfer due to facts that you are yet to fulfill the mandated obligations of your country laws and policy.
Western Union remains the fastest and easiest unit to transfer money worldwide operating with different central operating units and accounts worldwide; Officials in top places have failed to deliver your payment which the results of failures encountered has left you with no option but discouragement, its a new day and the beginning of your dream come through but, take note that your payment was issued as a contract to my department by the president of Ghana in collaboration with the united nations, which by agreement; the 2MUSD received by you at the end of the transfer shall only be remitted back to us after you have completely received the whole amount through our service.
Every four working hours interval five thousand united states dollars will be remitted to you till a total of 100,000.00 (one hundred thousand USD) is confirmed transferred to you,then after the total of 1,900,000.00 (one million, nine hundred thousand united states dollars) shall be transferred from your paying information into any account of choice completing a total payment of two million united states dollars as compensation to you from the Ghanaian government and West African Authorities on your failed transactions.
We bring to your notice, that our department has been ordered to transfer the total amount written herein swiftly to you from our operating unit in your country so respond by providing your;
Your Payment receivers Name:
Your Current Location:
Any Form of Identity:
In order to avoid any problems as such experienced in the past,we advice that you keep this payment information to your eyes and yourself alone till the transfer is completed,also be informed that no agent nor official of ours in your locality aside i shall give valid information about your payment, being that your case is highly confidential and our department does not entertain failure or disappointment of any sort but for verification of your payment, do visit our official web site www.westernunion.com find TRACKING on the top right of the site page, click and insert your payment information bellow accordingly to view the availability of your payment.
Money Control # (MTCN):9*********(withheld but will be given when we confirm your details requested)
Sender First Name: Richard
Sender Last Name: Martin
private email to contact is : firstname.lastname@example.org
ZONAL HEAD OF OPERATIONS,