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. )
- "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)
- "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 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union Pay-out Gold card <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2012 11:33:11 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Maximum Withdrawal per Day $3,000____Final Fee $38__
Western Union Money Transfer. Announced its decision to make an
optional repayment of $100,000.00 to each debtor , an account has been
opened in your name and the total money keyed in your Western Union
Gold Card Rewards .
Your Western Union Gold Card can be used for cash withdrawals anywhere
Visa debit cards are accepted 3,000.00.per day ,even online transfe
! or just hand it to the Western Union Agent clerk to Withdraw cash.
Please Visit the https://wugoldcard. mycardplace.com/cholder/
Your Card Number is: 4146650304178790 use it in the 1st time Signing
in and clicks proceed to verify the transfer .In addition to the
initial activation you will receive your PIN and your Western Union
Gold Card when the following fees are paid .
Transaction Fee for purchases with WU Gold Card
Account Administrative Adjustment Fee
Western Union Load fee
First PIN selection Activation fee
Priority Shipping Fee
Total fee to send
Send by western union with the Below Informations:
Receiver Name: Ogechukwu Omokwe/ Country: Benin Republic/ Question:
What Color?/Answer: Yellow.
Forard the MTCN XXX XXX XXXX
Your full name----
PIN# TO Withdrawal
PIN to Direct Deposit #
Gold rewards #
Your card #
Maximum Withdrawal per Day
Total Balance on your Gold Card
Waiting to hear from you soon.
Thank you .
Contact us at email@example.com
Western Union BENIN - COTONOU .