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. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union Welcome to Western Union <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2016 12:42:39 +0100
Subject: Re: GOOD NEWS WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
Western Union Welcome to Western Union
Send Money Worldwide
Tel CALL (+229)99338054
December 14, 2016 at 2:52 PM.
Welcome to Western Union Money Transfer Agent, We wish to inform you
that the IMF have release your fund sum of $376,000.00 Three Hundred and
Seventy Six Thousand US dollars issued on your name the money was
deposited with us in this Office as MTCN credit card, we shall be
sending the money to you everyday $5000.00usd until we complete the
total payment. We are very glad to inform you that we have processed
payment of $5000.00usd, but bare it in mind that the $5000.00usd will
not be given to you except you pay for service charges which is $87.00,
you have to pay the money through our service western union to the
information we give you here, then after confirm the payment of $87.00
from you, we shall release your first $5000.00usd to enable you pick it
up and get back to us for the second payment,As you can see here is the
MTCN Number of your first payment which we credited for you today,
track it with our website: www.westernunion.com, to confirm that your
1)Senders Name:: Holly Waldon
2)MTCN Number::: 7298423178
3)Amount::: $5000.00 USD.
Track it with our website:
https://wumt.westernunion.com/asp/orderStatus.asp?country=CN or you
can call this number to confirm the payment of the MTCN Tel:
Note that on your reply this massage make sure you send the full
information Remember that the full details you can use to pick up this
first payment will be send to you once we receive the transfer charge
of $87.00, You have to treat urgent by reconfirming your full
to us immediately you receive this massage to enable us start the
process of your payment immediately.
1.Your Full Name...
3.Your Tel Number....
These are the information about your money you can go to any western
union to pick up the money, don't forget that you have to settle for the
transfer charge before we can give the full information of your first
payment of $5000.00 usd we waiting to receive the above information from
your so that we can direct you where to send the transfer charge of
$87.00 which is only delay now, Kindly use this information to send the
Receivers Name: PAUL OBIORAH
Address: COTONOU-BENIN REPUBLIC.
Text Question: URGENT?
Text Answer: NOW..
We looks forward to receive the transfer charge together with your full
information, to enable us release this first $5000.00usd for you to pick
it up and get back to us for the second payment ok. Get Back ASAP
Yours in service
Mr. Victor Okafor
Western Union Manager
This e-mail transmission may contain confidential or legally privileged
information that is intended only for the individual or entity named in
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upon the contents of this e-mail is strictly prohibited. If you have
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