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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "www.Western Union Office" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2022 15:29:27 +0100
Subject: (MTCN) :990-248-1830
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER BENIN REPUBLIC
Address: 12 Avenue Island streets, Cotonou, Benin Republic
Telex : 5211 BCE BENIN REPUBLIC.
We wish to inform you that we have sent you a payment of $5000.00usd
today according to the agreement we had with DR. Chris Gyther Jr of
the over due contract, inheritance, winnings and scam victim
compensation distribution department, under Federal Ministry of
Finance, Benin Republic, which indicates that we should be sending to
you daily payment of $5,000.00USD until your total sum of
US$1.700,000.00 is completely transferred to you.
Now do contact us on(firstname.lastname@example.org) or WhatsApp on
+229-6065-2771 for any questions in case problems occur in picking up
your first payment from any western union in your city today.
Sender======== Benson Louis
Question: Who Is Great
Use below link to track Your MTCN Only to confirm your payment is
available for pick before proceeding to the nearby western union
Please fill this below information if you are having a problem in
catching up your first payment of $5000.00, so we can verify and solve
the problem immediately.
Regards Mrs Blessing Falani.
Western Union Manager