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. )
- "hundred thousand united state dollars" (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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:24:46 -0400
Subject: WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER®
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER®
INSTALMENTAL PAYMENT OFFICE
Payment officer: Evans Ubani
WESTERN UNION INSTALLMENT PAYMENT ONLY.
We write to inform you officially that the Board of Director of the
Debt Reconciliation Center,Injunction with the Federal Republic of
Nigeria,Federal Ministry of Finance Nigeria, Western union Agent
Akpakpa with the UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION has approved the payment sum
of $500,000,00(FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS) as a DEPT
RECONCILIATION PAYMENT, for your Winning funds with Compensation Head
office, deposited by the Uk Lottery Organization for payment to you as
the Winning owner/Beneficiary of the amount $500,000.00usd
After the Law Enforcement judgement between the UK LOTTERY
ORGANIZATION Agent Mr. Goldman Smith and Compensation finance head
office, The meeting held on the 4th of October, 2013,with the
aforementioned office and banks, the Concluded arrangement has
appointed our office (Western Union Money Transfer) to pay your unpaid
Winning fund through western union electronic system for your easy
pickup and to avoid further unforeseen delay that could make your fund
not to get to you in a timely manner.
The Management of the UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION HEAD BRANCH here in West
Africa have submitted your name, city and country informations to our
office for endorsement & daily activation of your payment which has
been programmed to be transferred under installment at rate of $5,500.00
daily as Western Union laws here does not allow transferring funds
above $5.500.00 at once from this country to another, but will be
sending under installment of $5,500.00 daily till the amount is
completely paid. In other words. We have today transferred your first
installment payment available for your pickup at any western union
office nearest to you, but still on hold due to the unpaid endorsement
& daily activation file fee amount of $350.00 you supposed to pay
before you can pickup your first installment today.
You will pickup the bellow installment at any western union office
nearest to you with bellow information's as soon as you send the $350
endorsement & daily activation file fee. Immediately the Activation is
made, You can pickup your first installment payment online at
www.westernunion.com OR Call Western Union tracking number
1-800-325-6000 for available fund verification purpose.
Sender's First Name: AUGUSTINE
Sender's Last Name: EKENE
MTCN: 8132223367 (Track the mtcn by dialing 1-800-325-6000 or
Text Question: Sport?
Amount Programmed: $5,500.00
NOTE: YOU CAN NOT PICKUP YOUR FIRST INSTALLMENT PAYMENT, UNTIL YOU
MEET UP WITH THE ACTIVATION CHARGES OF $350.00
To Avoid any atom of mistake, you are hereby required to reconfirm
your payment receiver's name and address to avoid any mistake of
payment activation during activation process of your payment as soon
as the daily endorsement charges is paid.
Reconfirm the information as given to you below.
Receiver's Tel. Number :
Please note that the receiver's information is very vital to us as the
activation of your daily installment will be directing to your
receiver's name and address.
The endorsement & daily activation file fee of $350 will be sending to
our office here in care to ............ through any western union
nearest to you:
CASHIER/RECEIVER'S NAME: JOHN R WISNER
ADDRESS: Minneola, Florida,34755 USA.
TEXT QUESTION: GOOD?
TEXT ANSWER: GOD.
As soon as you send the fee, send us the transfer Mtcn to help us
proceed with immediate transfer release of your installment payment.
Once your payment is confirmed, we shall proceed with the activation
of your payment for available pickup in your Name/country/Address.
Notice: This payment was approved by the federal ministry of finances
Abuja, Nigeria to beneficiary only.
We anticipate your kind co-operation.
Thanks For Using Western Union Office
Mr. Evans Ubani.
Western Union Office Inconjuction with Federal Ministry of Finance