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.
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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. )
- "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. )
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Stella Steven" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2021 04:15:14 -0700
Subject: WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER cash payment
The first $5000.00 was sent today.
Our accountant agent has helped send the first USD$5000.00 to you
through western union So get back to this office of
Western union Agent to pick up this USD$5000 out of the total sum of
USD$5.5Million. Call Mr.Peter Cruz immediately you get this E-mail to
enable him speed up for your payment or you send him an e-mail
forwarding all the necessary information required from you so that
they will commence on First Payment with Text Question and Answer/
Sender Name for you to pick up the first payment today. But I will
advise that you try and call to facilitate your payment.
We will be sending you $5000 Dollars twice every day because to
transfer the total money to your account will cost you big money for
the transferring that's why United Nations give us order to be sending
you $5000 Dollars twice every day and bellow is the information of the
first transfer In your name and you are advised to contact the Western
Union Agent Mr.Peter Cruz to give you the complete MTCN for the first
Installment of usd$5000 because the MTCN sent to you now is not
complete as send Eight digit numbers remaining two numbers you will
collect from Mr.Peter Cruz, once you have made the contact with him,
to enable you pick up the payment of USD$5000 today. Remember you are
going to pay for the transfer fee of $129.00 only for your first
$5000. Remember you have to pay the $129 before your complete mtcn
Number will be given to you to pick up your first payment.
But I advise you to call Mr.Peter Cruz Immediately you receive
this e-mail with +22966509937 ask him for the two digit
number's of the MTCN :
SENDER'S NAME:......Tony Moor
Contact us on our:
Western union Agent: Mr.Peter Cruz
Ask him to give you the mtcn, sender name,to pick the $5,000.00. I
told him to keep sending you USD$5000.00 Twice daily
until the payment of USD$5.5Million is completed. Again forward him
Note: The only fee you will be ask to pay is the First transfer fee of
your first payment which is $129.00 only. Tell Mr.Peter Cruz to send
you the information you are to use to send the fee before your first
installment payment MTCN will be forwarded to you.
(1)Your Full Name :....
So that he will be sure that you are the right person to start receive
USD$5000 out of the total sum of USD$5.5Million from government office
payment Call him immediately to give you Question and Answer Contact