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. )
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, China; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Joy Frank <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2011 23:40:37 +0530 (IST)
Subject: CONTACT THE WESTERN UNION TO TRANSFER YOUR FUNDS?
This is to inform you that the management and control of all finances of the Government as prescribed by the constitution of the country is the responsibility of the federal Ministry of Finance to handle all foreign arias/debts. The Board of Federal Ministry of Finance Benin Republic are here to notify you of your payment inherited funds of (US$2.5.000.00)USD After the meeting held on 9th of June 2011. His Excellence the PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN Has instructed this Department to send your funds to you through western union money transfer for easier receive of your inherited funds without any further delay.
So you adhere strictly to contact western union right now with this address ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) to start picking up your money today you. The maximum amount you will receiving per a day is ($5000.00) as soon as they confirmed your information as listed below,
Your city _____________
Text questionÂ __________
Test answer ___________
Your age ___________
Your sex ________________
Your passport ___________
ONCE AGAIN: You contact Mr. John Eze Tell phone +229 9986-9480 for Your fund has been approved from the federal ministry of finance Benin republic today so do contact western union department immediately to start picking up your fund, Thanks in anticipation of your co-operation,