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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "accredited attorney" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "lagos" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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. Kevin Anthony" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2019 21:07:19 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Kind Attention
WELCOME TO WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER SERVICE UNDER.
VITAL FINANCE BANK PARAKU, PARAKU REPULIC OF NIGERIA,
ADDRESS: 455 AGBOKOU, ANKPA ROAD. OPPOSITE TUNDE MOTORS
Good day My, please do accept my apology for not getting back to you early enough as expected before now, I was actually attending a meeting of the Board of
Directors regarding your Fund Transfer valued at US$2.8million, after the meeting, it was finally concluded that because of huge amount of time has been
spent already regarding the transfer of you fund with regards to your transfer schedule, your fund is now to be transferred to you via the Online Money
Transfer service system of the Co-operative Bank Group Republic of Nigeria (CBG)
However, how are you today? Hope all is fine and right with you. Well I am writing this email message to inform you that we already issued out those
documents to accompany your $5,000 payment daily from our Western Union Foreign Remittance Department as programmed. But the only problem we are having right
here is your personal signature which the Federal Administrator of Fund Republic Nigeria requested that you must sign those documents before we can start
Transferring your daily Payment of USD$5,000.00 to you. However, I told the officer in charge that it will not be necessary for you to come down here due to
your occupation or some other things that may not allow you to come down here to sign those documents by yourself. The Minister Administrator of Fund said
that you should get an attorney to sign on your behalf if you are unable to come down here in person.
I think this way is the best and the only way forward for you to start receiving your Payment as programmed, I have negotiated with an attorney who will sign
on your behalf. His name is Barrister Mathew Alfred, According to him you are to pay for the accredited attorney. He is charging $200.00 to be paid before he
gets those documents signed in your favor. I told him to consider signing those documents on your behalf today with a promise that you will pay him back from
the first $5,000 payment you suppose to receive today under 1hour and 45minutes that he gets those documents signed on your behalf this morning.
And his response is that you have to pay the accredited attorney fee of $200.00 before signing those documents. Well, I asked him for the very last time if
he could allow you pay half of his fee today with a promise that you will pay him the remain balance immediately your First $5,000 payment is been picked up
by you today under 1hours and 45minutes after he might has signed the documents on your behalf. After a long talk with him He has accepted that you should
go ahead and pay the half of the fee which is $200.00 through Western Union or Money Gram today. He needs me to ask you if you will be so kind to pay him
back the remain $100.00 balance at the western union office once you picked up the $5,000 pay today and I told him that you will pay him. So therefore I
hereby write this message to ask you to let me know if you will pay his balance immediately you pick up the First $5,000 payment from any Western Union
outlet around you.
He wants you to pay half of $200.00 today if you are so kind to pay the balance at the western union office once you picked up the $5,000 payment this
morning. But if you are not kind enough to pay his balance after picking the first transfer just do not bother yourself not to reply because I wonât see
another attorney here to do this. I will give you the information for you to pay half of the fee $100.00 half of his fee through western union or Money Gram
You have to hurry up to enable me proceed for the transferring of your total inheritance funds $2.5Million USD.
Send the half of the fee $100.00 today via Western Union
DO FORWARD THE PAYMENT INFORMATION ONCE YOU ARE DONE WITH THE PAYMENT SUCH AS SENDERâS NAME / MONEY TRANSFER CONTROL NUMBER ALRIGHT, YOU CAN ALSO CALL ME ON
THIS NUMBER +2349065091168
The attorney will get those documents signed as soon as he confirms the half of his fee from you. I will advise you to pay him the half of $100.00 and let
him sign the documents and you will then pay the other balance of $100.00 immediately you have confirmed and picked up your First Pay out USD$5,000.00 from
the same Western Union Office OK.
We look forward to your email response along with the Payment Information.
Mr. Kevin Anthony (General Director)
Western Union Management Lagos Nigeria
Direct Hotline: +2349065091168