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. )
- "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. )
- "00,000.00" (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: "WesternUnion" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2019 23:06:08 +0100
Subject: Payment Of $5,000 USD
-- The Money Has Been Sent Through Western Union , This is to inform you th=
at the America Embassy has instructed and mandated us to release the compen=
sation funds of $2,800,000.00 U.S Dollars to all SCAM VICTIMS, contract pay=
ments and lottery winners in our records, and your email was found as one o=
f the VICTIMS by the America security leading team and America=92s represen=
tative officers. So that you will be receiving the sum of $5,000.00 dollars=
per day. However be informed that we have already sent the first payment o=
f $5,000.00 dollars in your name this morning and the remaining balance is =
$2,795,000.00. You have only six hours to Call# +91-959-923-4288 upon the r=
eceipt of this email. starting from today the maximum amount you will be re=
ceiving per day is $5,000.00 only. Moreover, the sent $5,000.00 is on-hold =
because of the instruction from US Embassy=92s Delegates. They asked us to =
place it on hold in other to take a little time to fulfill all necessary ob=
ligation to avoid any hitch while sending you the payment through Western U=
nion money transfer. The necessary obligations is to obtain the Clean Bill =
Record Certificate (CBRC). Below is the information of today's payment thou=
gh you may not be able to track it in our website http://www.westernunion.c=
om because the obligation of obtaining the CBRC has not been met. So, we ha=
ven=92t affected it online for security reasons. Sender Name:....... Maria =
Elisabeth Schaeffler MTCN:.............. 5666650317 Question:.......... Tim=
e Answer:............ 6hrs Amount:............ $5,000.00 To avoid sending y=
our funds to wrong person, we need the below details to enable us fully act=
ivate the payment to your name. The moment we confirm the below information=
, your first payment will reflect in your country's western union offices f=
or pick up. 1. Your Full Names:.................... 2. Postal Address:.....=
................ 3. Phone Number:....................... 4. Cell Numbers:..=
..................... 5. Email Address:...................... 6. Sex:......=
.......................... 7. Age:................................ 8. Occup=
ation: ........................ 9. Nationality:........................ To =
get the CBRC will cost $72 only. Do get back me for the receiver informatio=
n to send the $72.00. Upon receipt of the $72.00, It will only take 2hrs to=
get the CBRC for proper clearance of your payment. Furthermore you are adv=
ised to call us as the instruction was passed that within 6hours without he=
aring from you, Consider your payment canceled. Number to call is the below=
listed managing director's office of the release order Call# +91-959-923-4=
288. Thanks Mr KpaKpa Bonker, (Western Union Mgr.) New Delhi, India. Wester=
n Union Email:- email@example.com Tel# +91-959-923-4288