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. )
- "i am using this medium to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (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: "service" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 16:13:15 +0800
Subject: DEAR VALUED CUSTOMER
DEAR VALUED CUSTOMER,
FOLLOW UP THE INSTRUCTION GIVEN BELOW BECAUSE AFTER OUR MEETING HELD WITH THE
FBI, UNITED NATION, BOARD DIRECTORS OF WESTERN UNION AND FEDERAL MINISTRY OF
FINANCE, THEY FINALIZE THAT YOU HAVE ONLY 48 HOURS GIVEN TO RECEIVE YOUR FIRST
PAYMENT OF USD$5,000.00 FROM THE TOTAL FUNDS WHICH IS (USD$800,000 EIGHT
HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS) SINCE YOU ARE FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO MAKE THIS
PAYMENT, WE HAVE DECIDED THAT YOU ARE TO GO AHEAD AND PAY USD$70 FOR THE FEES
SINCE YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO COME UP WITH THE REQUIRED SUM.
OUR GOVERNMENT HAVE WARN YOU TO STOP FURTHER COMMUNICATION/DEALING WITH ANY
BANKS THAT HAVE NO WEBSITE DUE TO FRAUD GOING ON WORLDWIDE. ANY BANKS THAT IS
CONTACTING YOU WITHOUT WEBSITE IS FAKE. PLEASE VIEW OUR WEBSITE NOW:
www.westernunion.com THEREFORE GO STRAIGHT NOW AND PAY USD$70 ONLY FOR THE
FEES TO ENABLE US RELEASE YOUR PAYMENT THAT IS PLACE ON HOLD BY THE MANAGEMENT
AND BE INFORMED THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY AS FEES UPON CASHING UP OF YOUR
FIRST USD$5,000.00, ALSO I AM USING THIS MEDIUM TO INFORM YOU THAT FAILURE TO
PAY THE USD$70 WILL LEAVE US WITH NO OPTION BUT TO CANCEL YOUR TRANSFER AND
CAN NEVER CASH UP THE FUNDS.
HERE IS THE INFORMATION OF YOUR FIRST PAYMENT BUT IT IS PLACE ON HOLD BY THE
MANAGEMENT AND YOU CAN NOT BE ABLE TO PICK UP UNTIL YOU SEND THE DEMAND WHICH
IS USD$70, JUST TO PROVE HOW SERIOUS YOU ARE.
SENDER NAME: ANDREW JOHNSON
TEST QUESTION: THANK.
TEST ANSWER: JESUS.
CONFIRM THE MTCN THROUGH OUR ONLINE TRACKING:
FOR YOUR INFORMATION DO NOT EXPECT THE RELEASING OF YOUR PAYMENT WITHOUT
SENDING THE MONEY REQUIRED AND REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE GIVEN ONLY 48 HOURS TO
COMPLY OR YOUR TRANSFER WILL BE CANCEL IMMEDIATELY SINCE YOU ARE TOLD TO SEND
USD$70 ONLY IN ORDER TO HELP YOU. BELOW IS OUR ACCOUNT OFFICER NAME WHICH YOU
WILL USE TO SEND THE USD$70 TO ENABLE US RELEASE YOUR FIRST PAYMENT IMMEDIATELY.
RECEIVER NAME:EMEKA ANI.
TEST QUESTION: PRAISE.
TEST ANSWER: GOD.
SEND US THE MTCN NUMBER/SENDERS NAME AND ADDRESS WITH YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER AS
SOON AS YOU SEND THE MONEY AND IMMEDIATELY WE CONFIRM THE TRANSFER FEE OF
USD$70 WE WILL RELEASE YOUR FIRST PAYMENT USD$,5000.00 TODAY AND NOT TOMORROW.
REGARDS MY DIRECT PHONE LINE IS: +234-8187263451 ( HONORABLE. ANDREW JOHNSON)
FROM THE HEAD OFFICE OF WESTERN UNION ABUJA, NIGERIA FOR YOUR PAYMENT.
PHONE LINE IS: +234-8187263451
HONORABLE. ANDREW JOHNSON
GENERAL OPERATION MANAGER.
FIRST BANK NIGERIA PLC
WESTERN UNION DEPARTMENT