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.
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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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Andrew Lamme <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2023 00:28:08 -0700
Subject: YOUR PAYMENT OF $5,000.00 IS READY
This message is from Federal ministry of finance office, we are to let
you know that We have finally concluded with Financial Bank Benin to
release your full compensation payment of $950.000 000 US Dollars to
you through Western Union and you will be receiving the sum
of$5,000.00 us dollars daily and First payment has been
sent:MTCN:246-127-3389, but your payment file must be renewed before
you will beable to pick up your first payment $5,000.00 us dollars
today. The Western Union Office stated that you will be receiving your
funds at the maximum rate of $5,000.00 us dollars daily until you
receive the total sum o $950.000 000 US Dollars completely. You are
also required to re-confirm the below information to them to avoid any
Receiver name: ---------
Your full address: ------
Copy of your id: --------
Now contact Western Union Manager Financial Bank Benin Republic with
this below information, they will start sending your fund to you with
out any delaying okay. Contact Manager:-- Mr. George Bal , Western
Union Department Financial Bank
Benin,E-mail:---(email@example.com )Tel: -- +229-99033569
Contact Mr. George Bal immediately through this above email address to
pick up your First payment today and let me know when you confirm it
call him now Tel: +229-99033569