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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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. )
- "money transfer control number" (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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR.JOHN AKA" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "MR.JOHN AKA" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2015 04:15:59 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) : 382-785-0242
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
INSTALLMENTAL PAYMENT OFFICE
We want to inform you that your payment of $5000 has been sent today through
western Union and I want you to contact MR.JOHN AKAÂ immediately with his
email address email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and here is
western union information to pick up your first payment $5000.00.usd today .
The money is available for pick up by receiver (you) if you check on our website
but you can not cash it due to its restriction from our head office for security reason
because it has stayed over the programmed time as we have been trying to reach
you for some days now but it has not been fruitful. Hence, the transaction was blocked
for security reason to prevent hackers from having access to it.
YOUR. TEST QUESTIONââ
HERE IS THE INFORMATION OF THE ONE WE SENT TODAY TO YOU BUT IT WILL
REMAIN ON HELD UNTIL YOU SEND US OUR TRANSFER CHARGES OF $350 BEFORE
WE CAN RELEASE IT TO YOU SO YOU CAN TRACK IT WITH OUR
Irrespective of the fact that it displays available for pick up when you track it, a clause
was placed on it for security reasons until we are sure you are available. Therefore you
can not cash it in any of our office due to the restriction from our head office which was
a security measure because the money have been on air for three days now and maybe at
risk. Hence, the mtcn has to be reactivated to enable you start cashing your fund from any
western union office in your city, vicinity, state. Etc. The reactivation of the MTCN will
cost you a token of $350. Once this is paid, our head office would release the fund on hold
so can start cashing your fund. To confirm this, please log on to
and enter the senderâs info and mtcn below and click check status to see the availability
of the transfer.
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
Senderâs Fist name: HERVE
Senderâs Last Name: ADJENIA
Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) : 382-785-0242
Question: Who Is Great
FINALLY UPDATE US WITH HE $350 USD TO ENABLE US PROCEED ON YOUR PAYMENT
IMMEDIATELY, BELOW IS THE INFORMATION YOU WILL USE TO REMIT THE $350 USD
VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER BEEN OUR TRANSFERRING CHARGE FOR
YOUR $5000.00 USD.
1.RECEIVER NAME:â¦â¦â¦ EMMA UDEH
4.TEST QUESTION:â¦â¦â¦â¦IN GOD
5.TEST ANSWER:â¦â¦â¦â¦..WE TRUST
YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED.
With due respect please get back to me urgently after tracking the transaction online so I can
instruct you on how to send the $350 to us for the reactivation of the MTCN for the pick up of your
first $5000 to be picked up today.
Phone number- +229-9993-2523
Manager Western Union Benin Republic