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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "headquater" (this email uses bad English)
- 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; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- joshua.) tel: +229-61-48-30-74 e-mail: (firstname.lastname@example.org)get back to him once you pick up the money to give you (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Nadeji Zarck <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Mrs Nadeji Zarck <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 16:53:38 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Go Now To Pick Up The $5,000 On MTCN: #6218968092
Â WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER DESK
payment Western Union
Welcome to Western Union
Send Money Worldwide
Dear Sir/Madam,the Benin Rep Government scheduled a time frame
to settle all foreign debts which includes Contract,Inheritance,
Gambling, Lottery, Sponsored by Microsoft and National Lottery,
and other international loans.After Federal Executive Council
Meeting with the Finance Minster and Central Bank Governor, it
has finally agreed in offering a bonus on end of the year 2014
ballot draw. My dear, you are very lucky that your ID was selected.
After the meeting,it has accepted that each lucky one been selected
shall pay any amount he/she has but can not be lesser than $55 for
activation of the payment file in order to start receiving your daily
payment. Now are you ready to pick up your $5,000.00 been sent today?
It has concluded to effect your payment through western union$5,000.00
daily until the $1,500,000.00 is completely transferred according to
Already a directive has given to Start immediately transferring Your
fund to you this morning, the first payment sum of the $5,000.00 was
sent by Mr.Smith Joshua the Western Union Manager in your name.
THE PAYMENT DETAILS ARE;
Sender's First Name: Sidney
Sender's Second Name: Lundin
Text Question: What?
Text Answer: Fund
So contact the Western union Agent to pick up this $5,000 now:
Contact person:(Smith Joshua.) TEL: +229-61-48-30-74Â E-mail:
(email@example.com)Get back to him once you pick
up the money to give you another mtcn, sender name,question and
answer to pick another $5,000.00. today. Also you should send to
him your information`s
YOUR FULL NAME=====
YOUR DIRECT PHONE NUMBER==ï»¿ï»¿
Â Mrs Nadeji Zarck;
TEL:+229 99 8 40 93
Call me once you pick up your $5,000.