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. )
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- 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 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: ANTONACI Michele <we31@WU970.onmicrosoft.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2014 14:22:52 +0100
Subject: Re: Responce (Reminder)
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
ITALY PAY-OUT CENTER
Dear Western Union Beneficiary,
UNITED NATIONS PAYMENT NOTIFICATION.
We wish to inform you that the United Nations (UN) has authorized us to rem=
it to you a total amount of $500,000.00, (Five Hundred Thousand United Stat=
Your Cash prize was paid out to us by the United Nations, and they have su=
ccessfully succeeded in depositing your whole funds with us Here at Western=
They have now ordered us to take full responsibility in the transfer proces=
s of your funds and thus commence the immediate remittance of your funds to=
Be duly informed that because of our Western Union transfer policy, your fu=
nds will be paid to you via our Western Union Daily Transfer limit of $5,60=
0.00 USD. This means that you will Continuously receive a daily amount of $=
5,600.00 USD, and this amount Can be collected from any of our numerous Wes=
tern Union outlets in your current location.
To begin the claim process of your daily payment as stated above, you are r=
equire to provide us with the following;
Your Full Name:
Upon the receipt of the above mentioned details, your first transaction wil=
l be activated and we shall then Proceed to provide you with the Money Tran=
sfer Control Number (MTCN) for the First installment and we will continue t=
o email you others after 12 hours of Receiving each payment.
For more information on your payment status;
ANTONACI Michele For
OR call our 24 hours Helpline @ +39 3661959222 for any inquiries on the ab=
For: Western Union Italy.
WESTERN UNION... Over 380,000 Outlets Worldwide