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. )
- "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: =?utf-8?B?77u/V2VzdGVybiBVbmlvbsKu?= <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2013 20:24:07 +0800 (CST)
Subject: Contact Western union foreign operation payment Benin republic
Â Â Â
Â SEND MONEY WORLDWIDE:OFFICE OF THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.COTONOU BENINconverted-space>Â REPUBLIC/ADDRESS 473 LEU, DEÂ AKPAKPA ROAD.Welcome toÂ Western UnionÂ Tel:+229-9867-5911
Â Western union foreign operation payment Benin republic
Address Plot 6 Bruno avenue Cotonou Benin
I want to inform you that we have already sent you $5000.00 US Dollars through Western union as we have been given the mandate to transfer your full over due payment total sum of $750.000.00 USD, via western union by the Ministry of Finance. I tried reaching you on phone to give you all the information on phone but I couldn't get through yesterday,
So I decided to email you the MTCN and sender name so that you can pick up the $5000.00 to enable us send another $5000.00 today, as you know we will be sending you $5000.00 only per day. And it was agreed that you will pay the transfer charge sum of $99 before the release of the payment to you.
Please pick up this information in any locate western union around youÂ the sum of $5000.00 and call the Operation Manage Mr. Ronald Mundy because he is the person in charge of your payment, and he can send you another payment today once you contact him,
Contact him once you picked up the $5000.00 today.
Below is the western union information to pick up the $5000.00; which you will be receiving daily after you sent them their transfer charge of $99 and it will serve as re-confirmation of your payment file in their office.
Here is the Senders Information;
Sender's First Name: Robert
Senderâs Last Name: Louis
Text Question: God
For your convenience you can use our (https://wumt.westernunion.com/asp/orderStatus.asp?country=global) to track your money transfer online is available for pick up by receiver?
They will be waiting to hear from you with the transfer charge payment of $99 today;
Receive Name: Obagha JohnÂ
Country: Benin Republic
Text Q: color?
Be advice that $99 transfer charge is compulsory as they told me that is the only money you will pay until you receive your payment completely. Endeavor to E-mail your direct telephone number because you will call once the payment informationâs is sent to you.
MRS. IJEOMA WILLIAM
Federal western union Benin