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.
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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. )
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "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)
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "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. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR.PETER WALTER" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2012 21:32:51 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: DEAR CUSTOMER
This is to inform you that the higher authorities that is in charge of international transaction has this morning declared that you will receive your $700,000.00Usd(Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) through Western Union Money Transfer Only as compensation for your past effort here in Benin Republic . So the arrangement has been made this morning and the Federal High Court Of Justice has signed your Western Union Transfer Papers and the only money you will pay is $100. for the signing of it which means your transfer will start tomorrow morning.The daily transfer of your fund is $7000.00 per day until your total $700,000.00Usd(Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) is completely transfered to you.
I am here to swear to you that your first payment of the $7000.00 daily transfer will be on its way today or latest tomorrow morning once we confirm the $100 from you which is for the Federal High Court Of Justice Benin Republic signing of your Western Union Transfer Papers. To show you the truth. Below is the First transfer payment details which has been insert into our computer.
Sender`s First Name: CHRISTIAN PAPA
Sender's Last Name: IGBOKWU
Then we want you to type http://www.westernunion.com/ ; and click tracking and copy sender's first name and last name, the you also copy mtcn number and click check status to see that your first transfer of $7000.00 is available for you but you will not pick it until you pay the needed $100for the signing of your Western Union Transfer Papers by the Federal High Court Benin Republic. So we are here giving you this Western Union Payment Information for you to send the $100immediately and your first transfer of the $7000.00 will be on its way after we pick the $100.
1. Receiver Name :=======MR.MICHAEL ONUORAH.
2. City/Country:========== Cotonou - Benin Republic .
We wait for your mail with the $100 from you and be rest assured that you will receive your total compensation of $7000.000.00Usd from us because this is General Western Union Head Office here in Benin Republic . Finally you are advise to stop emailing any office or department here in Benin Republic until you receive your full compensation from us,this is for your security.Western Union Head Quater Benin Republic.
General Manager MR.PETER WALTER .
$700,000.00Usd Compensation From Benin Republic.