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:
- 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. )
- "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: "Mr. Lawrence Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2012 22:04:11 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: YOUR FIRST PAYMENT $5000.00 HAS BEEN SENT TO YOU TODAY.
PAYMENT $5000.00 HAS BEEN SENT TO YOU TODAY.
How are you doing today? I write to inform you that we
have already sent you $5000.00usd dollars through Western union as we have been
given the mandate to transfer your full compensation payment total sum of
$2.7Million USD via western union by this 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 night.
Now I decided to email you the MTCN and sender name so
that you will pick up the $5000.00 usd to enable us send another $5000.00 usd
today as you know we will be sending you only $5000.00 usd per day and it was
agree that you will pay the sum of $72.00 before they will release the payment
Track the information now to see that it is
SENDER NAMES--------Daniel williams
TEST QUESTION------ WHEN
Here's the info to send the $72.00
Receivers name......Mr.Nalco Marcel
Question: how long?
Be advise that the $72.00 is a compulsory as they told
me that is only money you will pay until you receive your payment completely and
you have to re-confirm your full Name and home address and direct phone number
to avoid e any wrong deposit okay. I am waiting for your call once you pick up
this $5000.00usd, Please email me your direct telephone number because I need to
be calling you once we send any payment for the information. please follow our
instruction you will never regret knowing me in your life then, you will receive
your first of $5000.00 within 45 minutes after receiving the money from
Here is the information the western union office need
your phone numbers_____
Mr. Lawrence Williams
call him with his cell phone number +229-68347823