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. )
- "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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 26 May 2022 07:18:28 +0100
Subject: Urgent Attention!
Western Union Money Transfer, in conjunction with the World Bank have
agreed to pay you a total sum of $350,000.00 USD compensation fund.
The compensation fund has been signed to be paid to you as a result of
all the money you have lost to scammers, your name appeared on our
payment schedule list of beneficiaries that will receive compensation
in this 2nd quarter payment of the year according to our money
transfer regulation, The sum of $5,000.00 USD or its equivalent in
your local currency will be transferred to you via WU every day until
all the $350,000.00 USD is sent across to you. We have registered your
first payment of $5,000.00 USD online through Western Union Money
Transfer, confirm your first payment with the instructions below,
click on this website:
https://www.westernunion.com/ca/en/web/track-transfer, then enter
this tracking number MTCN: 6017631030, As soon as you enter the
tracking number click "Track Transfer" to confirm by yourself.
These are the details you need to present to the western union agent.
Also go with your id card:
Sender Name: Michael Wood
Amount sent: $5,000 USD.
Note: The sum of $125 will be paid for bond insurance coverage of your
fund before you will be able to pick up your first payment of $5000
and the fee can not be deducted from your compensation due to your
fund being under bond and security account so we can't take any money
from your total fund, after paying the $125 then you can go to any
Western union office in your area to pick up your first payment of
+229 568 888 07 call or WhatsApp