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. )
- "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. )
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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: Mr John David <"WWW."@eagle.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: Mr John David <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2017 08:56:39 +0900 (JST)
Subject: ATTN: DEAR CUSTOMER,
WELCOME TO WESTERN UNION MONEYTRANSFER
Western Union Send Money Worldwide
Welcome to Western Union Money Transfer office Cotonou Benin
ADDRESS: 17, BP OPPOSITE POST OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC
ATTN: DEAR CUSTOMER,
I believe you received my previous email? Again I am Mr John David, the former Director of western union Republic of Benin, I came down here in Cotonou Benin Republic for an ECOWAS meeting and i was searching for some files that i left in this office while i was working here, I found out that you have not received your fund amounted at $1.5 Million usd since last year 2016, and i asked Mr Anthony Robert what happened that you have not receive your fund and he said that you refused to pay the $100.00 to update your western union transfer file before starting your transfer.
I'm contacting you because the Director of the (IMF) International Monitory Fund here in Benin Republic said that they will divert all unclaimed funds including your funds to the Government Treasury account ''BY THE ENDING OF THIS MONTH''just because that you don't want to claim your funds since 2016 till date. So I want to hear from you today so that I will know the reason why you rejected such amount of money $1.5million which will change your life just because of $100.00
I want your urgent response as soon as you receive this email and explain to me the reason why you have abandon your funds because of $100.00. But if you don't need it then I can change your name successful to another person so that this Government will not claim this money but I know that you will not allow such thing to happen to you in your life.
If you are finding it difficult to get the fee $100.00 immediately then you can go ahead and send the half fee which is $50.00 so that immediately you received your first payment $4,000 then you will send the balance of $50 back to us, Please my dear I want to help you in this finally opportunity to receive this fund because it was a big shock to me that you have not received your fund till date and I$B!G(Bm very sorry for that, you will receive your fund before the end of this meeting which will take us 3days and I will be here to monitor the transaction until you receive your fund.
As a matter of fact, your first payment of $4000.00 is ready for you to pick up at western union office now but still on hold until your transfer file is updated today as soon as you've sent the fee.
HERE IS YOUR FIRST PAYMENT BUT IS ON HOLD,
Money Transfer Control Number (M.T.C.N) **4-800-7632)
Senders First Name: . . . . . . . . . . . . Raymond
Senders Last Name: . . . . . . . . . . . . Thunder
Amount sent: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - $4,000.00
Warning-- Do not go to western union store for the payment yet, till you send the payment of $100.00 or half $50.00 today and get your file updated as instructed by (head office of western union Benin republic) Or else you make yourself a fool and THIEF before your western union agent.
Once you send the payment today I will get back to you within 45 minutes after your transfer is updated with the Question and answer for you to pick up your first payment immediately today, We advice you to use the below information of our accountant to send the money:
Receiver name: _ _ _ _ Eric Oje
Country: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Benin Republic
City: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Cotonou
Question: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ When?
Answer: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Today
Be rest assured that everything will be finalize the moment the $100 or half $50.00 is received from you today, you will start picking up your daily payment of $4000.00 immediately until the total amount of $1.5Million is completed.
Mr John David,
Former Western Union Director
Western Union Payment Department section X. office
Republic of Benin