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.
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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. )
- 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: "MRS.ANN FRANK " <"WWW."@circus.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "MRS.ANN FRANK " <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 07:15:00 +0900 (JST)
Subject: CONGRATULATION TO YOU, YOU ARE THE LUCKY WINNER OF THIS SEASON
CONGRATULATION TO YOU, YOU ARE THE LUCKY WINNER OF THIS SEASON
My dear you are the luck winner of this year from the west African western
union department as they celebrate their 50yrs
anniversary this month which is done every year of the season and you have won
(5,200,000,00USD) from the west African western union department this year as
they celebrate it this year so congratulation to you as you are the luck winner
of the season,
All you will do is to contact Western Union director Mr.Wilson Warren Johnson, Email:
(email@example.com) He will give you more direction on how you will be
receiving the funds ($5,000.00) twice daily. Remember to send him your Full
information to avoid wrong transfer such as:r,
Phone Number: _____________
The first payment of($5,000.00)is about to be send today in your name So
contact their Director Wilson Warren Johnson, as soon as you receive this email or call
him +229 98656573 and tell him to give you the Mtcn, to pick the ($5,000.00)
Please let us know as soon as you received all your fund,