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:
- 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 (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "DR JOHN CHIKA." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2014 08:04:32 +0100
Subject: Attn: from OFFICE OF THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE COTONOU BENIN
Attn: from OFFICE OF THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE COTONOU BENIN
This is to notify all you about the lates development concerning all the
payment that are left in our custody, which yours are inclusive Besides,
your where given a bill of $350 00 ,in order to receive your payment of
which we didnt hear from you for sometime now. Hence, our Western Union is
now offering a Special BONUS to help all our customers that are having
their payment in our custody due to of prices. In order words we are now
requesting that those involve should pay only the sum of $48 to receive all
their payment abandoned in our custody.
Besides, my dear, this is the opportunity for you and have to comply and
your funds shall be transfer to your designated address. But remember that
after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will divert your funds
to Government Fund, to avoid problem or we will cancel the payment for this
5th July until because this month is not like last month.
Again after (THREE DAYS) We will enter A new project for the year and that
is the reason why we decided to help to all our customers before we enter
into the new project. And the fund is $2.8million ok and send all your
And your ID CARD--------------
Your. PRIVATE Email Address======
So be advise to send the $48 immediately so that we will register your
payment and for you to start receive $5.000 as from tomorrow. Be advice
that there is no time again for we to call any person on phone unless you
will call +229-98333967. or (email@example.com)
After the payment of $48 you will start receiving your money every day
$5.000 through Western Union
Send the money through Western Union Money Transfer with the information
Reciver's name== Emmanuel Nnalue
The moment I receive the payment of $48 i will release the first
Payment information of $5.000 to you and you will pick up the money and i
will send you another money. Hoping to hear from you.
The Director Of Western Union.
DR JOHN CHIKA.