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:
- 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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "(INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF))" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 12:55:22 +0200
Subject: IMF Tax Certificate and IMF Insurance Certificate/////
*FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY (F.C.T.)
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
23 HERBERT MARCULARY AVENUE
I am Director Chief Dr. Larry Musa, a highly placed official officer of the
International Monetary Fund, Cotonou, Benin republic in West Africa
(I.M.F). I went to the Western Union this morning to examine exactly what
is going on about the documents we request from you to enable us permit the
Western Union Office to release the payment to you and Dr. Philip Desmond
the Western Union Operation Manager told me that you called them Scammer.
Is that true? I'm a highly placed official officer in I.M.F Office Benin
republic and I stand hereby telling you that they are not Scammer. I know
them as Western Union Money Transfer Office (WUMTO) .
We are International Monetary Fund unit, Cotonou-Benin republic and we
monitor every transaction in Benin republic. So, when we discovered that
Dr. Philip Desmond wanted to start transferring payment funds to you we
then put everything that they are doing on hold and asked them to provide
you or they will be arrested, Dr. Philip Desmond told us that you are in
abroad and it's difficult for you to come over here &Sign the Document.
So that was reason why we gave you the $49 to pay & sign the document to
enable us allow the Western Union,Cotonou- Benin republic to start
transferring the funds to you.
The bill of $49 that they asked you to pay is because Dr. Philip said that
you can't be able to trip down here and sign the IMF Tax Certificate and
IMF Insurance Certificate so that was the reason why we gave you the two
option either to pay the $49 for we to paid our Attorney to sign the
documents or you come down here and sign the documents with your hands.
The $49 is to enable our Attorney Sign the Document for your behalf and
start releasing your fund to you Via Western Union since you can not be
able to come down here and sign the Document By your Self, So go and send
the Signing Attorney fee to start releasing your payment to you Via Wstern
looking forward to hear from you with the payment Detail of the $49 if you
can not be able to come down here in Bein and sign the Document,
We are looking forward to hear from you with the payment Detail of the $49
BY WESTERN UNION ONLY.
Receiver's:--Name: Onyekachi James
We are looking forward to hear from you.
Director: Chief Dr. Larry Musa
I.M.F. (International Monetary Funds.
Official Officer Of I.M.F.
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)*