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. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "scott" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2012 04:11:58 -0400
Subject: CONTACT WESTERN UNION OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC
THIS IS TO INFORM YOU THAT THIS OFFICE WAS INSTRUCTED TO PAY YOUR FUND$2.8MILLION USA DOLLARS BY AMERICA SECURITY LEADING TEAM AND AMERICAREPRESENTATIVE EMBASSY BETWEEN NOW TILL END OF SEPT 2012 PER DAY YOUWILL RECEIVE THE SUM OF $5,000 DOLLARS HOWEVER BE INFORMED THAT WE HAVESEND THE SUM OF $5,000 DOLLARS THIS MORNING TO AVOID CANCELLATION OFYOUR PAYMENT YOU HAVE ONLY FOUR HOURS TO CALL THIS OFFICE UPON THERECEIPT OF THIS EMAIL THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT YOU WILL BE RECEIVING PER ADAY STARTING FROM TODAY IS $5,000 IN THREE DIFFERENT PAYMENTS AND THEMTCN OF TODAY IS BELOW.
MTCN NUMBERS : 0830 359 893
Sender's Name:.....Ekwealor Alexander
Text Question: ....In God
Answer: ....We trust
Amount: ...$5,000 usd
FURTHERMORE YOU ADVISED TO CALL THE WESTERN UNION DIRECTOR MR VICTORBROWN AS THE INSTRUCTION WAS PASSED THAT WITHIN FOUR HOURS WITHOUTHEARING FROM YOU.YOUR PAYMENT WILL BE CANCELLED.IN ADDITIO TO THIS,THE NUMBER TO CALL IS BELOW LISTED MANAGER DIRECTOR OFFICE OF RELEASEORDER:(+229 98523598)( firstname.lastname@example.org ) THANKS AND
MR ADAM HALL