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.
- 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 (Yahoo, Canada; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "mr johnson brown" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:59:19 +0600
Subject: YOUR INFORMATION IS NEED FOR THIS FUND
Send Money Worldwi
FROM THE OFFICE OF WESTERN UNION
HEAD OFFICE DEPARTMENT
REPUBLIC OF BENIN
TELEPHONE : +229-98-589-565
This is to inform you that your $3.7M USD will be send to you via western
union money transfer. The total amount mentioned above is with western
union out let and they will send the money via western union to you. Note
they will be sending $7,500 every day to you. Therefore i want you to
email Mr.LARRY SIMTH the western union supervisor and ask him to give you
the MTCN you need to pick up the first $7,500 today.
Call Mr.LARRY SIMTH now and ask him to give you mtcn and every other
information you need to pick up your $7,500 today. Here is what he may
require from you.
Your Receiver Name...
Note that the only money you will send to them is $75.00usd transfer
charge. Contact him now on this webmail address:(firstname.lastname@example.org
) or phone.+229 985-895-65 Contact personr Mr.LARRY SIMTH informations is
sent to you,
mr johnson brown
Call him immediately you receive this massage +229-98-589-565
western union department.
REPUBLIC of BENIN.
CALL US AFTER THE PAYMENT