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. )
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- 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.
- +22921073310 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "SGBB BANK" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 03:04:51 -0700
Subject: FROM SGBBE BANK, WE NEED SOME CLARIFICATION BEFORE TRANSFER
Valued Attn; to Beneficiary,
We want to bring to your attention that there is an issue with the SGBBE Bank Western Union Benin Rep. In the amount of 500,000.00 Euros Directed in cash credited to file No:(BJWUT/229308/09), as the owner of this email address. This fund was given to you as COMPENSATION by United National Monitory Fund Committee, as your name & E-mail was enlisted for those who have encountered loose in the Bank due to the global crisis & hand of fraudsters. This organization was set up by KOFI A. ANNAN of Ghana, the seventh Secretary General of the United Nations, served from 1997 to 2006. Your personalized claimant ID is UNBJ0022931BJX.
The International Monetary Fund Unit contacted us for your compensation fund a couple of hours ago, through your allocated security code. They instructed that we should transfer the money to you via our Western Union Control Unit without proper confirmation of your real name and then send the transaction information to you via your email address. But we are unable to complete a transfer directed at an email address without proper confirmation of your real name, for you to be able to pick up the money with your ID at your end. So we decided to contact you first, requesting some more information in order to verify it with what we have on file from the IMF.
We need the information below;
Your full name__________
YOUR ID CARD or
PASSPORT COPY by SCAN_____
Your Direct Phone number______
In order to resolve this problem and commence action on the transfer of your compensated fund, get back to us immediately with the requested info above.
Note; as soon as the above information's is received and we crosscheck with your file and confirm everything okay, then we will apply for obtaining the (Transfer Authorization document) from the Ministry of Finance Benin, which will cost you the sum of 120 Euros only, as it is allocated to you by UN Committee and IMF. Immediately the authorization is issued the same day your payment will be made to your nominated bank account that you will provide to us or we will transfer to you via our SGBBE Western Union Transfer Control Unit, which have access to make huge transfer in one payment as we permitted. We can transfer to you 20,000.00 euros in to 4 places which is 5000.00 euros
each via our western union control unit.
Finally when emailing us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone +229- 21073310 please use this reference number 22B9-SG for our mutual convenience.
Mr. Celestin Dossou, Manager SGBBE Bank, Western Union Management calls or emails us once you receive this email today.