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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rocketmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Telecom Cam" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 07:48:46 +0300
Subject: MTCN:.... #074 137 0142
SEND MONEY WORLDWIDE:
OFFICE OF THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC/ADDRESS 473 LEU, DE AKPAKPA ROAD.
Welcome to Western Union Tel: +229 98836885
How are you today, this is to bring you good deliver that you will receive
your fund if you no get your fund via western union since you contact them
, this is your opportunity to be happy to receive all your fund you spend
a lot of money through western union, if you believe us here ? I write to
inform you that we have already sent you $5,000.00 usd dollars through
Western union as we have been given the mandate to transfer your full
compensation payment total sum of $3.5Million USD, via western union by
I was calling your telephone number to give you the information through
phone but you did not pick up my calls through out yesterday even this
morning. Now, I decided to email you the MTCN and sender name so that you
will pick up the $5,000.00 usd to enable us send another $5,000.00 usd today
as you know we will be sending you only $5,000.00 usd per day. And it was
agreed that you will pay the sum of $95.00 before they will release the
payment to you. Please pick up this information and run to Western Union
to pick up the $5,000.00 usd and call Director of Operation MR. DAVID PETER
because he is the person in charge for your payment so that he can
send you another payment today, TEL: +229 98836885,
email Him once you picked up the $5,000.00 USD today.
Here is the western union information to pick up the $5,000.00; which you
will be receiving your payment $5,000.00 Us Dollars immediately you sent
them their transfer charge of $95 and it will serve as re-confirmation of
your file payment from the office in charge.
So you are to re-confirm to them the below information:
Your. Test question-----
Your. Email Address---
Here Is The Payment information of your first payment that has been
transfer but it's still on hold till you send the transfer charge of the
$95.00 for the transfer OK, you can track it now and confirm that it's
available for pick up then once you send the transfer charge today, we
will release it immediately to enable you pick it up today so by tomorrow
morning you will still have you secondly payment again,
Hear is the First payment information that we send you today,
Sender First Name: Jason
Sender Last Name: Callahan
Text Question: When?
MTCN:.... #074 137 0142
You can login to western union website with this link to check out your
This is the payment information below you will user to make the payment of
RECEIVER------------- Gordon Mark
LOCATION CITY --------- COTONOU
TEXT QUESTION--ARK OF?
Be advise that the $95.00 is a compulsory as they told me that is only
money you will pay until you receive your payment completely I am waiting
for your call once you pick up this $5,000.00 usd, Please email me your
direct telephone number because I need to be calling you once we send any
payment for the information.