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. )
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- "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: david john <email@example.com>
Reply-To: david john <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2015 08:37:43 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Here is the information;MTCN: 8398-670-833 SENDER NAME:MIKE idigo,track it now
OFFICE OF WESTERN UNION COTONOU-BENIN REPUBLIC
Address; 455 Agbokou, Ankpa Road
Opposite Tunde Motors COTONOU.
Western Union Office Code:(303)
Yes, After sending your first payment today I letter receive a call from federal high court this morning to stop this your first payment $5000 per day until you send this $75 for them to obtain your transfer documents, this is your MTCN 839867083 still on line waiting for you to send this $75 today, i swear to you that you will start receiving your $5000 within 15mins time after i confirm this payment of $75 today from you ok.
Here is the MTCN 8398670833 for you to pick up your first $5000 after you obtain your transfer certificate today, it will
be release on hold. You have only 2days to send this $75 or your MTCN will be cancel.
Sender's name:--------------MIKE IDIGO
Senderâs Country:-------------Benin Republic
And is Available for pick up by You Receiver.
Reconfirm your full information to enable us to proceed and release your first payment of US$5000.00 to you.
Immediately We receive your Full information, we shall activate your name to enable you start receiving your payment,Please Note: this MTCN number ( 8398670833 ) should be kept very safe and secret for your own security, to avoid someone else tampering with your funds.
(1)YOUR FULL NAME:______________________________
(4) YOUR OCCUPATION;____________________________
I swear with my life that if i try to deceive you let God take my life, this $75 is magistrate demand it, From federal high court demand this fee to release your transfer documents before you will receive all your funds, i will advise you to send this $75 today, if you don't receive your first payment today let God take my life, get back Immediately, this is the information to send this $75 immediately, call me to hurry up to release your transfer today.
Receiver:Â JOE UDE
Cuntry: BENIN REPUBLIC
Answer:Â Â Â soon
Amount:Â Â Â $75.00usd
DIRECTOR OF WESTERN UNION BENIN REPUBLIC
OFFICE PHONE NUMBER:
OFFICE CODE: (303)
Â ............................. .............................. ...........................................................
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE:
This e-mail, including any attachments,contains information from Dr.Anthony William,Western Union Benin Republic Manager Group, Inc, which may be confidential or privileged. The information is intended to be for the use of the individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the contents of this information is prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by "reply to sender only" message and destroy all electronic and hard copies of the communication, including attachments.