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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: MR EDWIN FABIO <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2012 16:34:34 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: MY DEAR YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED!!
MY DEAR YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED!!
ECOBANK PLC, DEPT OF WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC,
W7 7DB, HAMPSTEAD ROAD,
CALL US ON +22999131677
THI IS FOR YOUR HELP PLEASE 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 JULIUS BERGER MULTI-NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY ON THEIR AWARD WINNING TO UNITED STATE, ASIA AND EUROPEAN CITIZEN WHO ARE TO RECEIVE THE BELOW MENTIONED AMOUNT, SO YOUR NAME HAPPEN TO BE IN THE LIST OF BENEFICIARIES. SO YOU WILL BE RECIEVING USD$2.8Million FROM THIS DEPARTMENT OF ECOBANK (WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER), YOU WILL BE RECEIVING USD$20,000.00 SPLITTED INTO FIVE (5) DAILY ON THE INSTALLMENT OF USD$4,000.00 PER CASHED AT ANY WESTERN UNION OUTLET UNTIL IT COMPLETE THE CORRECT AMOUNT (USD$2.8Million). SO THAT MEANS YOU WILL BE RECEIVING FIVE (5) MTCN NUMBER PER DAY, USD$4,000.00 INTO FIVE THAT'S USD$20,000.00 PER DAY.
MEANWHILE YOU ARE REQUIRE TO BE SENDING US THE TRANSFER CHARGES $125, THAT IS IF YOU SEND US TRANSFER CHARGES WE WILL RELEASE YOUR INFORMATION TO PICK UP YOUR FUND AND WHEN YOU'VE RECEIVED THE FUND, YOU WILL SEND US THE TRANSFER CHARGES OF NEXT DAY TRANSFER THEN WE RELEASE THE NEXT DAY PICK UP INFORMATION. BECAUSE WE ARE GIVEN ONLY FIFTEEN BUSINESS DAYS (15DAYS) TO GET THE TRANSFER COMPLETED VIA OUR SERVICE AND SUBMIT TRANSFER SLIP TO THEM AT THE END OF THE TRANSFER.
It became imperative to contact you on the subject matter because after the fund has been brought to our office to remit somebody from your country by name Victor James contacted us and said you are on sick bed and ordered him to contact us to remit the USD$2.8Million using his information to pick up your fund presently under our custody for transfer on your behalf.
The Official responsible for the presentation of your money valued USD$2.8Million Winning quickly granted approvals to their application now waiting for final endorsement from Board of Trustees.
When our ECOBANK Debit Note was submitted to my desk for final Approvals before forwarding it to Board for endorsement, I noticed that there are discrepancies as there was no evidence of authorisation letter from you for Victor James to receive the fund on your behalf. I urgently summoned The Official responsible for the presentation of the winning and directed him to stop the movement of the funds and at the same time placed a stop order instruction on the funds pending when your views and comments are received with regards to this matter.
I hereby urged you to call or email me urgently for your comments which will be highly appreciated if you are still alife or not on sick bed, because we will not hesitate to continue the payment transfer activation with the name of the gentleman on claim if no response come from you. Contact me on this number : +22999131677or e-mail me back using this address (firstname.lastname@example.org) as your silence will be a clear indication that you authorised her to effect the above changes . Also fill the information below to help us facilitate your transfer via western union.
1..RECEIVER NAME:.............IKWUNNE O ANTHONY
2.COUNTRY:............. BENIN REPUBLIC .
3.CITY :............... COTONOU .
4..TEST QUESTION:....God Is
1) Your Full Name:.............
2) Country and Mobile #:..........
3) Home/ Office Address:....
4) Profession and Age:.......
YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED .
MR EDWIN FABIO
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS,
ECOBANK PLC WESTERN UNION DEPT