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. )
- "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. )
- "i am using this medium to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: MR LARRY LAND <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2021 02:31:42 -0700
Subject: Western Union(R) Send Money Worldwide
FROM OFFICE OF THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
ADDRESS NO.72 AGATA ROAD , COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC
WESTERN UNION HEAD OFFICE DEPARTMENT REPUBLIC OF BENIN .
FOREIGN CONTRACTOR PAYMENT OFFICE
FOLLOW UP THE INSTRUCTION GIVEN BELOW BECAUSE AFTER OUR MEETING HELD
WITH THE FBI,UNITED NATION, BOAD DIRECTORS OF WESTERN UNION AND
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE, THEY FINALIZE THAT YOU HAVE ONLY 48HOURS
GIVEN TO RECEIVE YOUR FIRST PAYMENT OF $4,000 USD FROM THE TOTAL FUNDS
WHICH IS (3.5M) SINCE YOU ARE FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO MAKE THIS
PAYMENT, WE HAVE DECIDED THAT YOU ARE TO GO AHEAD AND PAY $50.00 FOR
THE FEES SINCE YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO COME UP WITH THE REQUIRED
OUR GOVERNMENT HAVE WARN YOU TO STOP FURTHER COMMUNICATION/DEALING
WITH ANY BANKS THAT HAVE NO WEBSITE DUE TO FRAUD GOING ON WORLDWIDE.
ANY BANKS THAT IS CONTACTING YOU WITHOUT WEBSITE IS FAKE.PLEASE VIEW
OUR WEBSITE NOW :WWW.WESTERN UNION.COM.
THEREFORE GO STRAIGHT NOW AND SEND $50 TO ENABLE US RELEASE YOUR
PAYMENT THAT IS PLACE ON HOLD BY THE MANAGEMENT AND BE INFORMED THAT
YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY THE BALANCE SUM OF YOUR FEES UPON CASHING UP OF
YOUR FIRST 5,000:00 USD, ALSO I AM USING THIS MEDIUM TO INFORM YOU
THAT FAILURE TO PAY THE BALANCE SUM WILL LEAVE US WITH NO OPTION BUT
TO CANCEL YOUR TRANSFER AND CAN NEVER CASH UP THE BALANCE SUM.
HERE IS THE INFORMATION OF YOUR FIRST PAYMENT BUT IT IS PLACE ON HOLD
BY THE MANAGEMENT AND YOU CAN NOT BE ABLE TO PICK UP UNTIL YOU SEND
THE DEMAND WHICH IS THE $50,
1.SENDER FIRST NAME:... JOSEPH
2.SENDER LAST NAME..... HOLY
4.AMOUNT ..........$5,000 USD
FOR YOUR INFORMATION DO NOT EXPECT THE RELEASING OF YOUR PAYMENT
WITHOUT SENDING THE MONEY REQUIRED AND REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE GIVEN
ONLY 48HOURS TO COMPLY OR YOUR TRANSFER WILL BE CANCEL IMMEDIATELY
SINCE YOU ARE TOLD TO SEND $50.00 IN ORDER TO HELP YOU.BELOW IS OUR
ACCOUNT OFFICER NAME WHICH YOU WILL USE TO SEND $50.00 TO ENABLE US
RELEASE YOUR FIRST PAYMENT IMMEDIATELY.AND YOU CAN SEND THIS FEE
EITHER BY WORLD REMIT OR STEAM WALLET CARD ANY WAY YOU WISH.
1.RECEIVER NAME:......SANDRA NEKA
3.CITY :...............COTONOU .
SEND US THE MTCN NUMBER IMMEDIATELY YOU SEND THE MONEY AND IMMEDIATELY
WE CONFIRM THE TRANSFER FEE WE WILL RELEASE YOUR FIRST PAYMENT $4,000
TODAY NOT TOMORROW
REGARDS MY DIRECT PHONE LINE IS +229 6801620 MR LARRY LAND. FROM THE
HEAD OFFICE OF WESTERN UNION BENIN REPUBLIC FOR YOUR PAYMENT,
MR LARRY LAND
GENERAL OPERATION MANAGER.
VITAL FINANCE WESTERN UNION DEPARTMENT
Western UnionÂ® Send Money Worldwide