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. )
- "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. )
- "million dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- 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 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.Richard A.Iwu" <"Richard."@iris.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "Mr.Richard A.Iwu" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 01:22:34 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Reference Number (REF): 8258568130
WUÂ® Cash Transfer
Office address:No 455 paperbark carer ranee,
carefree turbocharger Road narobi,
This is to inform you that we ministry of finance want to use this medium to send you your fund through western union we have sent your first payment of $5,000.00 (Five
Thousand dollars) through western Union. as we have been given the mandate to
transfer your full compensation fund of $10 Million Dollars via Western Union
by the IMF.I called to give you the information through phone but we could not
reach you even this morning.
So,I was instructed to email you the payment information which include
Reference (Money Transfer Control Number) and sender's name,so that you can
pick up your first payment of $5,000.00 to enable us send another payment of
$5,000.00 by tomorrow as you know we shall be sending you only $5,000.00 per
day but if you will meet up to be fast in picking it we might send twice or more than per day.
Here is the information to pick up your first payment of $5000 through Western
Union store close to you
Reference Number (REF): 8258568130
sender first Name: Richard
Sender Last Name:Tenison
Text question ;God
Text Answer: Saves
Track it with this link: https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/self-service/app/tracktransfer?s_tnt=96340:0:0
Thanks for choosing western Union and we ministry of finance need your adiqate co operation in this transaction.
Sign: Richard A.Iwu
Director, Chairman of the Audit Committee.