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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: =?UTF-8?Q?Western_Union=C2=AE?= <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2021 09:46:26 +0100
Subject: Western Union
Patop Foun Foun 06 Bp 1565 Pk3 Porto Novo
I want to inform you that we have already sent you $2500 US Dollars Through
Western union as we have been given the mandate to transfer Your full
overdue payment total sum of $950,000 USD, via western Union by the
Ministry of Finance, I tried reaching you on phone to Give you all the
information on phone but I couldn't get through Yesterday.
So, I decided to email you the MTCN and sender name so that you can Pick up
the $2500 to enable us to send another $2500 today, as you Know we will be
sending you $2500 only per day. And the Ministry of Finance stated That you
will pay the reactivation charge sum of $95 before the release of the
payment to you,
Please you are to reconfirm your full information to the Operation Manager
(Allen Smith ) Because he is the person in charge of your payment, and he
can reconfirm your information for proper verification.
1. Full Name:
3. Phone/fax number
4. Attach your ID
Below is the western union information to pick up the $2500; which You will
be receiving daily after you sent them their transfer charge Of $95 and it
will serve as re-confirmation of your payment file in Their office. BELOW
IS THE INFORMATION TO CONTACT HIM.E-mail : ( firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the Sender's Information;
last name, Nchekwube
Tracking # (MTCN): 325-170-0903
Amount Sent $2500
For your convenience you can use our (
https://wumt.westernunion.com/asp/orderStatus.asp?country= global) to track
your money transfer Online is available for pick up by receiver? I will be
waiting to hear from you with the transfer charge payment Of $95 today; Be
advised that the $95 transfer charge is compulsory as they told me that Is
the only money you will pay until you receive your payment? Completely,
Endeavor to E-mail your direct telephone number because