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. )
- "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)
- "i will advice you " (this email uses bad English)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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: Melania Trump <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Melania Trump <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2017 18:52:52 +0900 (JST)
Subject: From Mrs.Melania Trump
How are you today?
am Mrs Melania Trump.First Lady of the United States. How are you &
yourÂ family today? hope fine. This is the second notice we are sending
to you in
regards to your Bank Cheque Draft.
I am written to
inform you about your Bank Cheque Draft brought by the United Embassy
from the government of Benin Republic in the white house Washington DCÂ
which contains the sum of $2.500,000.00 us dollars credited from the
bank ofÂ America, the delivery of your funds has been mandated to be
deliver to your address today to you as soon as you get back to me with
your home address andÂ your cell phone number.
Bear in mind that I
have taking my time to be in charge of your funds asÂ instructed by my
husband to ensure that you received your funds successfully
white house to reduce
the economy and Iâm the only one that has yourÂ funds in regard to my
husband Mr. Donald John Trump and you will have to pay the sum of
$68.00.00 only before your Bank Cheque Draft will deliver to you Today,
the reason why the fee is required is to have your funds clearance
paperÂ from the origin of the funds to avoid any harassment from the
authority and youÂ are also expecting to be announce as winner of the
said amount by Wednesday as soon as your fund is delivered to you.
you are urgent advised to get back to me with your home address and
also theÂ payment information today for immediate effect of your
delivery. Note that theÂ $68.00 is the only fee and final payment you
have my assurance.
However, according to our agreement with the
originated Benin Republic, all ourÂ communications should be on email
for record purpose so follow my instructionÂ accordingly, even if you
donât have the $68.00
try to borrow it and send it immediately because this is your life
opportunity and I donât want you to lose the chance any more.
I will advice you to urgent make the payment this morning via westernÂ
union or money gram money transfer to the listed cashier information as
instructed you by the originated authority.
I will look forward to receivedÂ your email today with the payment to
enable the origin secure the required clearance papers required at White House Benin to deliver your funds. Note thatÂ it will take only 14hrs
to deliver your Bank Cheque Draft in receipt of the $68.00 payment.
Please find the payment details below to send the $68.00 via western union or money gram Ria money transfer.
Receiver Name:....... Marco Dani
Country:....... Benin Republic
Amount: $68.00 USA
MTCN reference number............
I look forward to your respond to your email with the payment today.
the First Lady of the United States,
The White House
(Official Residence of the President of the USA)
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington DC 20500 USA