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. )
- "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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 07:39:09 +0300
Subject: Welcome to Western Union Money Transfer Office Benin
Welcome to Western Union Money Transfer Office Benin
Send Money World Wide,Head Office.. 415 Kotoungbe Rd
Cotonou, Benin Republic/Office Cell..+229-98310676
Contact Email... ( email@example.com )
This is to notify all of 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 of USD$250 in order to receive your payment of which we didnât hear from you
for sometime now......
Hence, our Western Union is now offering a Special BONUS to help all our customers that are having their payment in our
custody due to of prices. In order words we are now requesting that those involve should pay only the sum of USD$55. 00 to
receive all their payment abandoned in our custody.Besides, my dear, this is the opportunity for you and have to comply and
your funds will be transfer to your destinated address immediately.
But remember that after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will divert your funds to Government Fund, to aviod
problem or we will cancel the payment for this year untill next year because this year is not like last year.
Again note that after (THREE DAYS ) We will enter A new project for the year and that is the reason why we decided to help
all our customers before we enter into the new project.
So be advise to send the USD$55.00 immediately so that we will register your payment instantly and for you to start receiving
USD$3,000.00 daily as from tomorrow once we confirm the payment from you. Be advise that there is no time again for we to
call any person on phone unless you can call +229-9879-2531.
After the payment of USD$55.00 you will start receiving your money every day USD$3,000.00 through Western Union Money
Transfer. Please do not forget while sending the USD$55.00 required remember to furnish this details to us which you will use
to receive your payment such as follows... Your Name, Country, City,Address and Your Telephone Number.
Send the USD$55.00 today through Western Union Money Transfer with this information below,
Receiver's name== Mrs. NGENE O INNOCENT
Country== Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Text Question== In God
Answer== We Trust.
The moment we receive the payment of USD$55.00 I will release the first payment information of USD$3,000.00 to you and you
will pick up the money and I will send you another money until your amount some of ( USD$750.000.00 )usd is completed in
your account .
Hoping to hear from you soon. Below is our contact information for you to comply immediately to enable you start receiving
your fund installmentally as soon as possible right. Email us us with this email address below====( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Waiting to hear from you soon.
Dr Christian Morris
Western Union Benin