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. )
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (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: Daniel Patrick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 17 May 2022 14:15:57 -0700
Subject: M.T.C.N. NOTIFICATION
>From Desk Of Mr. Daniel Patrick
For Your Payment Valued US$ 380,000.00
Take note, that In conjunction with the International Monetary Fund(I.M.F)
Reconciliation Committee had agreed to pay you a total amount of
$380,000.00 as compensation fund. The compensation fund has been signed to
be paid to you for all the money you have lost to scammers and impostors
through internet banking frauds from the Central Bank of Nigeria (C.B.N) or
Your name appeared on our payment schedule list of beneficiaries that will
receive their funds in this first quarter payment of the year 2022
according to our banking regulation from the Central Bank of Nigeria
(C.B.N) Board of Directors. We apologize for the delay of your payment.
The sum of US$3,000.00 or its equivalent in your local currency will be
transferred to you via Western Union every day until all the $380,000.00 is
sent across to you for collection. We have registered your first payment of
$3,000.00 online through Western Union Money Transfer Just confirm your
first payment with below instruction, Open this website: (
1 Western Union also makes money from currency exchange. When choosing a
money transmitter, carefully compare both transfer fees and exchange rates.
Fees, foreign exchange rates and taxes may vary by brand, channel, and
location based on a number of factors (www.westernunion.com) then click
"Track Transfer", for you to see the status of the transaction online.
As soon as you open the website, enter this tracking number(M.T.C.N):
845-968-6564 and click "CONTINUE" to confirm your first compensation
Sender Names: NORMAN PETER
Country of sender: NIGERIA
Amount sent: $3,000
Money Transfer | Global Money Transfer | Western Union
Waiting for your urgent and immediate responses and Kindly respond on time
to enable us to confirm you have picked up the first $3,000 to send more
the next day till you receive your full compensation payment of $380,000
only. Thank you,
Mr. Daniel Patrick
27 Prosperity Avenue,