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. )
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "cotonou" (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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Mirna Damary <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2021 13:24:16 +0100
Subject: YOUR FIRST $7000 USD
WEST AFRICA,COTONOU REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
EMAIL:( firstname.lastname@example.org )
PHONE: +229 62067151
Attention: E-mail Address Owner at +229 62067151
2015/2021. SCAM VICTIM'S COMPENSATION FROM THE IMF/ ECO-WAS / UNITED NATIONS
CONTACT E-MAIL ADDRESS:( email@example.com )
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)/ ECO-WAS / UNITED NATIONS is
compensating all the Scam victims and your email address was found in
the scam victim's list for this fiscal year 2015/2021. This Western
UnionÂ® office has been mandated by the IMF / ECO-WAS / UNITED NATIONS
to transfer your compensation to you via Western UnionÂ® Money
However, we have concluded to affect your own payment through Western
UnionÂ® Money Transfer, $7000.00 us dollars, daily until the total sum
of (Seven millions Five hundred thousand United State Dollars (
USD$7.500.000.00USD) is completely transferred to you.We can not be
able to send the payment with your email address alone; thereby we
need your information as to where we will be sending the funds, such
Attached copy of your Identification
Bellow is the Western Union Contact information:
Contact Name: Rev Tony Mike
Western Union Agent. Cotonou, Benin.
With your full details information stated above to enable them,
commence transfer of your fund immediately with out any further delay
as soon as you forward them your full receiverâs information.
Thanks for using Western Union
Mrs Joy Tutu