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. )
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: james marks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: james marks <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2014 12:21:41 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Attention: E-mail Address Owner
Welcome to Western UnionÂ®
Send Money Worldwide
Attention: E-mail Address Owner
This Western Union office has been mandated by the Federal Government of Benin republic to transfer your compensation Funds to you via Western UnionÂ® Money Transfer.
However, we have concluded to affect your own payment through Western UnionÂ® Money Transfer, $5,000 twice daily until the
total sum of USD 2,500 000.00) is completely transferred to you. We can not be able to send the payment with your email address alone,
thereby we need your information as to where we will be sending the funds, such as;
Contact person Mr Dan Ike. email (firstname.lastname@example.org)so email him with your full information.
Note that your payment files will be returned to the Federal Government within 72 hours if we did not hear from you, this was the instruction given to us by the Federal Government. We will start the transfer as soon as we received your information.For urgent inquiry, call Mr Dan IKe +229-98492837.Here is the information of the first payment we send to you.
SENDERS NAME...ablavi Da
Receiver Name: In Ur Name
TEXT QUESTION.... How Much?
TEXT ANS... $5000.00.
Amount Sent: $5000.00
Â Mr james Mark
secretary of Western UnionÂ® Money Transfer,
Â Benin Republic.
This email is intended for the owner of this E-mail Address only and contains privileged and confidential information. If you received
this email by error, please delete it from your mail box and notify us immediately for correction. The disclosure of this email to a third party is highly prohibited. Thanks for your understanding.