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. )
- "you are advise 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2012 14:00:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: FROM OFFICE OF THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
FROM OFFICE OF THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC/ADDRESS 455 AGBOKOU,ANKPA ROAD
LAGOTES PALAR : TELE NO. +229-99481913
EMAIL Address: email@example.com
THIS IS TO ACKNOWLEGE THE RECEIPT OF YOUR TRANSFER DETAILS, AND YOU ARE ADVISE TO GO TROUGH THIS EMAIL CAREFULLY AND MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND AND READY TO COMPLY WITH THE CONTENTS BEFORE REPLYING TO IT.
WE ARE INSTRUCTED BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF THIS BENIN REPUBLIC TO TRANSFER YOUR PAYMENT TO YOU VIA OUR SERVICE (WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER) SO YOU WILL BE RECIEVING $5,000.00 USD DAILY UNTILL IT COMPLETE THE CORRECT AMOUNT ($1.2MILLION).
MEANWHILE YOU ARE REQUIRE TO SEND US THE TRANSFER CHARGES WHICH IS $95.00 USD FOR THE $5,000.00 THAT WE HAVE ALREADY REMIT TO YOUR NAME BECAUSE WITH OUT THAT YOU CAN NOT PICK THE MONEY FOR IT IS ON HOLD.
NOTE: THE REASON WHY WE NEED YOU TO SEND US THE $95.00 USD IS THAT WE TRIED TO DIDUCT THE TRANSFERING FEE OUT FROM YOUR FUND BUT THE MINISTER ADMINISTRATOR TRUST FUND OF BENIN REPUBLIC TOLD US THAT NO ONE HAS ACESS OVER YOUR FUND AS IT HAVE BEEN SIGNED AND STAMPED THAT NO MONEY SHOULD BE DIDUCTED UNTIL IT GETS TO YOU TO AVOID ANY MISUNDERSTANDING BEACUSE IF ANY ONE HAS ACESS TO THAT IT WILL INVOLVE YOU LOOSING YOUR FUND, NO ONE HAS TO BE TRUST EVEN YOUR MOTHER OR YOUR FATHER.
HERE IS THE INFORMATION OF THE ONE WE SENT TODAY TO YOU BUT IT WILL REMAIN ON HELD UNTIL YOU SEND US OUR TRANSFER CHARGES OF $95.00 USD BEFORE WE CAN RELEASESE IT TO YOU SO YOU CAN TRACK IT WITH OUR WEB SITE.
SENDERS NAME: RICK ROWLAND
MTCN NUMBER: 3774250548
FINALY UPDATE US WITH HE $95.00 USD TO ENABLE US PROCEED ON YOUR PAYMENT IMMEDIATELY, BELOW IS THE INFORMATION YOU WILL USE TO REMIT THE $95.00 USD VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER BEEN OUR TRANSFERING CHARGE FOR YOUR $5,000.00 USD.
RECEIVER NAME:___ OKONKWO GABRIEL
ADDRESS:_____ C/458 AKPAKPA- COTONOU
CITY :___ COTONOU
COUNTRY:___ BENIN REPUBLIC
TEST QUESTION :___ HOW LONG?
TEST ANSWER:___ TODAY.
AMOUNT :___ $95.00 ONLY
YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED.
MR. LARRY BISHOP,
TELE NO. +229-99481913
EMAIL Address: firstname.lastname@example.org