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. )
- "cotonou" (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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: INTERPOL INVESTIGATION OFFICE <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 2010 04:38:58 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: INTERPOL INVESTIGATION OFFICE(CODE 2020)
(INTERPOL INVESTIGATION OFFICE)
15 BRITISH ROAD PORTO NOVO BENIN REPUBLIC
We want to inform you that the Federal Government of Benin Republic has ordered us to release your outstanding transfer that we hijack due to your inability to comply to the transfer procedure, also instructed us to renew all the documents regarding your money which will cost you $75 to avoid any problem again during sending your money through western union money transfer, that will enable you receives us$5000 daily until you receives your total approved fund.
So to enable us precede with the process re-confirm your information below to avoid mistake on renewing your documents after we renew your file we will also ordered western union department to release your transfer to you immediately without delay.
Your full name; -----------------
Home address; ------------------
Telephone number; -------------
You can send the renewal fee of $75 with this name below as soon as you send it make sure that you forward the payment details to enable our agent Mr.OKAFOR C.CHIDI pick it up OK.
RECEIVER NAME:======== OKAFOR C.CHIDI
COUNTRY:============= BENIN REPUBLIC .
TEXT Q:============== HOW LONG?
TEXT A:============== NOW
We are waiting to hear from you once you receive this message for you to start receiving your $5000.00 per day till you receive all the total amount of $750,000.00usd.
Interpol Regional Office Benin
Officer In Charge