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. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- "lagos" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: BARRISTER ROSE EMMAUNEL <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 21:46:41 +0100 (BST)
Subject: YOU WILL START RECEIVING YOUR MONEY EVERY DAY $5,500 BY WESTERN UNION
COMPENSATION AWARD AUTHORITY &
(ATTORNEY & COUNSELS AT LAW)
HIGH COURT OF
JUSTICE REP OF
102 IBSEN ISLAND AVENUE
KARAKORUM , LAGOS
THIS IS TO NOTIFY YOU ABOUT THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT
CONCERNING ALL THE PAYMENTS THAT ARE LEFT IN OUR CUSTODY WHICH YOURS ARE
INCLUSIVE,BESIDES YOUR WERE GIVEN A BILL OF $105.00 IN ORDER TO RECEIVE YOUR
PAYMENT OF WHICH WE DIDN'T HEAR FROM YOU FOR SOMETIME NOW.
HENCE, OUR WESTERN UNION HEAD OFFICE IS NOW OFFERING A
SPECIAL BONUS TO HELP ALL OUR CUSTOMERS THAT ARE HAVING THEIR PAYMENT IN OUR
CUSTODY DUE TO HIGH PRICE OF THE $105. IN ORDER WORDS WE ARE NOW REQUESTING THAT
THOSE INVOLVE SHOULD PAY ONLY THE SUM OF $37.00 TO RECEIVE ALL THEIR PAYMENT
ABANDONED IN OUR CUSTODY.
BESIDE MY DEAR, THIS
IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO COMPLY AND HAVE YOUR FUNDS TRANSFER TO YOUR
DESIGNATED ADDRESS WITHOUT ANY FURTHER DELAY.
NOTE THAT AFTER (4 WORKING DAYS) YOU DID NOT MAKE THE
PAYMENT THEN WE WILL DIVERT YOUR FUNDS TO GOVERNMENT TREASURY,OR WE WILL CANCEL
THE PAYMENT FOR THIS YEAR BECAUSE THIS YEAR IS NOT LIKE LAST YEAR.
AGAIN AFTER (4 DAYS ) WE WILL ENTER A NEW PROJECT FOR
THE YEAR AND THAT IS THE REASON WHY WE DECIDED TO HELP ALL OUR CUSTOMERS WITH
THEIR OUTSTANDING PAYMENTS BEFORE WE ENTER INTO THE NEW PROJECT.
BE ADVISED TO SEND THE $37.00 IMMEDIATELY TO ENABLE US
REGISTER YOUR PAYMENT AND FOR YOU TO START RECEIVING YOUR $5,500
AFTER THE PAYMENT OF $37 .00 YOU WILL START RECEIVING
YOUR MONEY EVERY DAY $5,500 BY WESTERN UNION UNTIL YOUR TOTAL FUND OF $2
.5MILLION U.S DOLLARS IS COMPLETELY TRANSFERRED TO YOU.
SEND THE $37 BY WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER WITH THE
3,RECEIVERS NAME: ALEX
4,RECEIVERS COUNTRY: LAGOS-NIGERIA
THE MOMENT WE RECEIVE
THE PAYMENT OF $37 WE WILL RELEASE THE FIRST PAYMENT INFORMATION OF $5.500, WE
ARE LOOKING FORWARD HEARING FROM YOU SOONEST
BARRISTER ROSE EMMANUEL
+234 8O3 208 4765