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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "abuja" (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: "Ministery of Finance " <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 20 Nov 2021 12:28:46 +0100
Subject: THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR YOU
PRESIDENTIAL COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN PAYMENT
ASO ROCK VILLA, ABUJA- NIGERIA ,
OUR REF: PRS/COM/00452/IMP
FROM THE DESK OF DR.MRS KEMI ADEOSUN MRS. ZAINAB SHAMSUNA AHMED
Attention: Scam Victims ,
We wish to use this medium to notify you that your name and contact details
was mentioned and short listed among 2009 to 2021 INTERNET SCAM VICTIMS
who has lost their funds, resources and other valuable items in the pursuit
of their Lottery Winning Funds payment, Inheritance Funds, Scam dating.etc
We have decided to pay back each victim Five hundred thousand United state dollars
for each of the victims of this online scam in order to protect the interest of the
Nigerian reputation in the world as instructed by the UN, IMF, and FBI.
This is to notify you that we have concluded to effect your payment
through western union but due to the pass transfer option. we will be sending
five thousand US dollars daily until the sum of Five hundred thousand US
dollars are completely transferred to you accordingly.
Though Linda Olding has already sent you ten thousand US dollars today, please
contact the Minister of Finance: Number +234-8168134854 or by email below.
Based on the above Compensation Scheme, we will transfer the sum of
Five hundred thousand US Dollars only through western union Money transfer and
issued out in your Name for immediate confirmation of your compensation cash.
Here is the MTCN: of five thousand US dollars in two ways:
five thousand US dollars each First MTCN: 4414267497, Sender's name:
Linda Olding, Kindly track it on www.westernunion.com and confirm it,
then email me or call me immediately so that I will contact the sender
immediately to activate it so that you can then go to any western union outlet
and collect the money,a total of Five hundred thousand dollars will be paid
to you through this process.
You are required to reconfirm your full details and send it back to us immediately.
DIRECT HOUSE ADDRESS:
Send your Information on this email: email@example.com
Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed
Honorable Minister of Finance
Federal Republic of Nigeria