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. )
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Benjamin Gonzalez" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 2021 03:14:28 -0700
Subject: YOUR URGENT REPLY IS NEEDED,
Attn; My Dear,
The International Monetary Fund(IMF) is compensating all the scam
victims with sum of ($2.5 Million) and your email address was found in
the list. This office has been mandated by the IMF to transfer your
compensation to you via WESTERN UNION Money Transfer. However, we have
concluded to affect your own payment through WESTERN UNION Money
Transfer, $5,000 usd per day until the total sum of $2.5million,USD is
completely transferred to you. We can not be able to send the payment
with your email address alone or without conforming your info,so we
want you to contact Mr.William James with your full information where
he will be sending the funds to you, contact person
Director Mr.William James
Telephone Number: +229 9862 4740
Please conform your information if it is correct so that we will give
you direction on how you will be receiving the funds daily. Remember
to send him your Full information to avoid wrong transfer such as,
We will send your first payment as soon as you get back to us Though,
Mr.William James will send $5,000 in your name today so contact Him or
you call him as soon as you receive this email and tell him to give
you the MTCN, sender name and question/answer to pick the $5,000.
Please let us know as soon as you received all your fund.
Note,that your payment files will be returned to the IMF within 72
hours if we did not hear from you, this was the instruction given to
us by the IMF.he will start the transfer as soon as we received your
Mr. Benjamin Gonzalez