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. )
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Remittance Department Western Union Benin Republic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:00:36 +0100
Subject: YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED
Direct Cell Phone: +229-667-59-918
Attention; Dear Customer
I am writing to let you know that the mail you sent to this Western
Union Head Office has been received in regards to your transaction.
I am here to let you know that once we receive the fee of $29.00 for
the signing of your Western Union Transfer Papers,the transfer of your
$200.000.00Usd(Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) will start
without any problem,so i will advise you to try much as you can to
come up with the needed $29.00 to enable us proceed toward the
transfer and your first transfer of $3,500.00 will be on its way after
we receive the payment $29 from you today.
So i am waiting for your mail today with the payment information
because that is only what is holding your transaction. meanwhile you
have to put all your effort and see that you raise the $29.00 and send
it today if possible to enable us proceed toward of transfer.
RECEIVER'S NAME....JULIUS IDIGO
TEXT QUESTION...HOW LONG
AMOUNT NEEDED.....$29 ONLY
Remain bless in the name of our lord Jesus Christ.
YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED.
Call us +229-667-59-918
Mr. Patrick E. Joshua
Remittance Department Western Union Benin Republic.