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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "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: WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2012 15:40:11 +0100 (BST)
Subject: United Nations Organization and Western Union Money Transfer.
This is to officially
inform you that the United Nations Organization compensation payment committee,
has mapped out funds running into Millions of United States Dollars for the
settlement of all funds that have been lost to Benin Republic/ Nigeria dodges
via Lottery Winnings, Contract payments, Fake Bank Transfer dodges, Inheritance
Funds payments, fake money orders, fraudulent online shopping, dating dodges,
charity dodges, check transfer and ATM dodges etc. This compensation is been
sponsored and done by the Benin Republic/ Nigeria Government in collaboration
with the World Bank, United Nations Organization and Western Union Money
We have been directed by the United Nations Security Council to
make a compensation payment of US$50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand United States
Dollars Only) to you being one of the listed beneficiaries. Be informed that a
first part payment of sum of US$2,000 (Two Thousand U.S Dollars) shall be sent
to you on a daily basis for 25 days.
Below is the Western Union
information for the first payment pick up:
NAME: Margret David
Amount: $2,000.00 USD
Kindly get back to
us via email and phone (+229-68-447338) immediately confirming your name, address and
telephone number, Once we receive your email, we shall give you more information
on what you need to do to activate the above MTCN (987-651-7649) to start up
your transfer. Attached to this message is copy of my International Passport for
i give you 100% Gurantee that as soon as you send the
require fee of $55 today, then you will receive your first payment this morning
before 10mins. so please you have to send the money the same way you send the
last money. so please update us with the MTCN now. you have to use the same
information you use to send the last money. You are advice to send the fee $55
through western union money transfer Or money gram;
Furthermore you are advised to call us as the
instruction was passed that within 6hours without hearing from you, Consider
your payment canceled. Number to call is the below listed managing director's
office of the release order: +229-68-447338
Email them via (
firstname.lastname@example.org ) immediately!!!
We are looking forward to
hearing from you.
Dr. Godwin KiKi.
(Western Union Mgr
Benin Rep. )
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial
Western union payment Service.
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