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:
- 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. )
- "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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: office-------------------------------------- file
Date: Wed, 2 Mar 2011 03:10:51 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Attn: Beneficiary.GOOD NEWS FROM B.O.A WESTERN UNION DEPT?ARE YOU
DEAD OR ALIVE??.
This isto bring to your notice that I am delegated into inform you from the United Nations Office and Bank Of Africa Plc.that we are instructed to
pay Ten (10) Benin Republic 419 scam victims $1.200,000.000Usd each, you are listed and approved for this payments as one of the scammed victims,On
this faithful recommendations we want you to know that during the last UN meeting held at Porto Novo, Capital Of Benin Republic.
It was alarmed so much by the rest of the world in the meeting on the
lose of funds by various foreigners to the scams artists operating in
syndicates all over the world today,the president of the country DR.
YAYI IBONI is now paying 100 victims of this operators $1.200,000.000
USD each, Due to the corruption and inefficient banking systems in
So you have to contact our paying Agent through this email below:
BANK OF AFRICA BENIN WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER (PAYMENT DEPARTMENT OFFICE.)
NAME: MR OBILOR NELSON
Direct Line: +229 93-74-22-45
Endavour also to send him this informations as i listed it below to avoid wrong transfer.
Your Receiver Name...
that the only money you will send to them is the signing fee of the
lawyer that will sign your transfer and it will cost you only $95Usd
him immediately you receive this mail to enable him give you the
information to send the $95bUsd and your first $5000USD MTCN NUMBER and
other transfer informations.And you will be receiving $5000USD everyday
untill the total amount is complete.
Mr John Ebell.