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. )
- "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: Charles Jones <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 14:18:01 +0100
Subject: Respond Urgently
>From The Desk Of Mr.Charles Jones
Plot 18 Prosperity Street Ajao Estate
Tel:(+234) 80-56005672----- Direct number
For Your Payment Valued US$ 350,000.00
Western Union Money Transfer, in conjunction with the International
Monetary Fund(I.M.F) Reconciliation Committee had agreed to pay you
total amount of $350,000.00 as compensation fund.
The compensation fund had been signed to be paid to you for all the
money you have lost to scammers and impostors through internet banking
frauds from Central Bank of Nigeria (C.B.N) or other Banks.
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 Central Bank of Nigeria
(C.B.N) Board of Directors. We apologize for the delay of your
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
$350,000.00 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: ( https://www.westernunion.com/web/global-service/track-transfer
) then click "Track Transfer", for you to see the status of the
As soon as you open the website, enter this tracking
number(M.T.C.N):271-574-8280 and click "CONTINUE" to confirm your
first compensation payment yourself.
These are the details you need to present to the Western Union
Officials. Also go with your Identification Card like Driving License
or National id or International passport.
Sender Names: NORMAN PETER
Country of sender:NIGERIA
Amount sent: $3,000
Money Transfer | Global Money Transfer | Western Union
Awaiting for your urgent and immediate responses and Kindly respond on
time to enable us confirm you have picked up the first $3,000 to send
more the next day till you receive your full compensation payment of
$350,000 only.Thank you,
Plot 18 Prosperity Street Ajao Estate
Tel:(+234) 80-56005672 ----- Direct number