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. )
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Buchi Adam" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2012 18:34:39 +0100 (BST)
Subject: This Message Is From The Western Union,
This Message Is From The Western Union, To The Owner Of This E-mail, How
Are You Today, I Write To Inform You That We Have Already Sent You
USD5000.00 Dollars Through Western Union As We Have Been Given The Mandate
To Transfer Your Full Compensation Payment Total Sum Of US $500 000.00,Via
Western Union As Instructed By Our Government.
I Was Calling Your Telephone Number To Give You The Information Through
Phone But You Did Not Pick Up My Calls Through out That Yesterday Even This
Morning. Now I Decided To Email You The MTCN And Sender's Name So That You
Will Pick Up ThisUSD5000.00 To Enable Us Send Another payment Today As You
Know We Will Be Sending You Only USD 5000.00 Per Daily.
Please Run To Western Union To Pick Up The USD5000.00 And Call Me Back To
Send You Another Payment Today Manager Dr George Rick Telephone Number Tel#
+229-99 88 3009
Email: ( email@example.com ) Call Or Email Me
Once You Picked Up This USD5000.00. Here Is The Western Union Information
To Pick Up The Money:
MTCN # 1860977956
Sender's Last Name::::::Ekwegbli .,
Test Question:::::what colour
I am Waiting For Your Call Once You Pick Up The Money.
MEANWHILE YOU ARE REQUIRE TO SEND US THE TRANSFERING FEE WHICH IS $195 USDFOR THE WHOLE TRANSFER CHARGES, THAT WE HAVE ALREADY REMITTED TO YOUR NAME, SO WITHOUT THE TRANSFER FEE YOU CAN NOT PICK THE MONEY FOR IT'S ON HOLD AND THE MTCN CANNOT BE RELEASED TO YOU UNTILL YOU SEND THE TRANSFER FEE, THAT IS AN INSTRUNCTION FROM THE FEDERAL MINISTERY OF FINANCE (FMF).Please Email Me Your Direct Telephone Number Because I Need To Be
Calling You Once We Send Any Payment For These
HERE IS THE INFORMATION THAT YOU WILL USE TO SEND THE TRANSFER CHARGE SO THAT YOUR FIRST PAYMENT WILL BE RELEASE TO YOU FOR ANOTHER TO BE SENT
RECEIVER NAME::::::::::::::::::::::::Philip Emeka Ajaegbu
COUNTRY:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::REPUBLIC OF BENIN
TEXT QUESTION :::::::::::::::TRANSFER CODE?
MTCN Number#, Sender's Name:
Here is the e-mail address you can contact us AS SOON AS you made the
payment of US$195.00: FOR THE TRANSFER OF YOUR FIRST PAYMENT
Tel# +229-99 88 3009
E-mail ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Western Union Headquarter Benin.