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. )
- "million 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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 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: Widad Babiker Omar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2022 20:03:14 +0100
Subject: Attention Beneficiary,
This is to inform you that we have been working towards the
eradication of fraudsters and scam Artists in Africa with the help of
the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). We have been
able to track down so many of this scam artist in various parts of
African countries and Europe, which includes (Nigeria, Burkina Faso,
UK,USA, Spain, Ghana, Benin Rep and Senegal) and they are all
in Government custody now, they will appear at International Criminal
Court (ICC) soon for Criminal/Fraud Justice.
During the course of our investigation, we have been able to recover
so much money from these scam artists. The United Nations Anti-Crime
Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have ordered that
the money recovered from the Scammers be shared among the emails that
we found in their system for compensation. This Email/Letter has been
directed to you because your email address was found in the list
during the investigation, maybe you have been scammed before or
related to that. You are therefore being compensated with the sum of
($1,000,000.00 USD)(One Million United State Dollars).
You are advised to pay sum of $105.00 usd for your account daily
activation installment process so that this first payment will be
release out from on-hold and reactivate it in your name in order to
able pick it up today.
Send the $105.00 through Western Union Money Transfer to below
following information and get back to us with copy of the Western
Union slip OK? Receiving Address
Receiver Name: ABDULELE QUEEN
Country: BURKINA FASO.
Amount: $105 only
Track your own first payment on-line now
This is your first payment information:
SENDER NAME: PAUL AFISE
AMOUNT: $5,000.00 usd
Contact us through this email for more verification
Mrs.Widad B Omarh
Western Union Director
Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou.