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:
- 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. )
- "are expected to pay " (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. )
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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: "U.S. Ambassador Benin Republic" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 05:03:31 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: ATTN: PLEASE
Embassy of Benin,
9901 Sorrel Ave, Potomac, Montgomery, MD 20854-4703,
Welcome to the United States Of
America Embassy Benin
Republic, This is Mrs. Gayleatha B. Brown,Secretary to U.S. Embassy in Benin
Republic.We write to notify you that U.S. Embassy in Benin has inter-vain in you
case and will now pay your outstanding dept $1.2M USD own in Africa.we are here
to represent, protect the legal interest of every American and the businesses of
every Foreigner and especially to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
member country Citizens domiciled here in Cotonou,
We write to inform you of the breaking news about your
Inheritance fund of ($1.2 million USD) that was deposited at Western Union from
the financial regulatory bodies of this country, from their report I gathered
that your Inheritance fund which was scheduled to have been remitted into your
account through Western Union office Benin Republic was boycotted by some
corrupt officials of Western Union with intention of diverting your fund into
their private account hence they went on asking you to pay endless
However, I got the Benin Republic International Criminal
Police Organisation (INTERPOL) involve for investigation, and in their bid to
launch a full scale investigation into the saga, they found out that the reason
why you were swindled in the past and still not been able to receive your fund
till date was because you were dealing with the wrong persons, unscrupulous
elements, and impostors that were impersonating Western Union. Prior to that I
have order for the arrest all those who were involved.
Haven said that we held an emergency meeting with the
Government of Benin Republic, and it was resolved that you shall be receiving
$5000USD each day until your total fund is finished within the calculated break
down of Eight (9) weeks.
Furthermore, we have summon the amalgamated union
governing all the Western Union stores in this country and their Chairman
referred your fund to Western Union (54) of Rue 29085 Nzager Kolonbo Street, New
heaven Off Chez Paprie, Cotonou ,
Here is their contact information;
CHEZ PAPRIE BRANCH
Mr. Richard Paul
Though the VAT charges that you were supposed to pay was
initially on the high price but has been cut down to $85 by the USA Embassy
in Benin Republic as part of our corporate social responsibility to considering
the poor economic situations that make it difficult for the middle class
citizens to meet up with the VAT of their entitlement.
Note that the $85 is the only money that you shall pay
to Mr. Obieluo Antony of Western union (54) before they shall start sending you
the Originals of the payment details that shall enable you pick up your first
$5000USD from any Western Union in your city. Note that the $85 is compulsory
for you to pay them as it was agreed in the meeting that you have to pay the $85
which will serve as re-confirmation to your original file at Western union
Meanwhile you are advice to reconfirm the below
information to Western Union (54) upon contacting them to avoid wrong
1. Your Full Name:
2. Your Direct Cell No:
3. Your Home Address:
4. Your City:
5. Your Country:
Note that you are expected to pay only $85 for
re-confirmation of your file and you are to pay it to Western union (54) Benin
Republic as the origination of the Fund in the favour of Mr. Obieluo Antony.
Send the $85 through western union once you receive this email with the
information below for reconfirmation of your file that will enhance the release
of your Fund,
Receivers -----------Name: Ifeanyi G. Chukwuma
Country: -------------Benin Republic
Question: ------ Who Made You?
Answer: ------------- God
Once you send the money, try to notify them with the
MTCN for easy pick up and for immediate action on the release of your $5000USd
and your subsequent payments. Note that any unclaimed funds will be return to
the Government of Benin after 21days.
So you are urgently advised to comply with our
directives so that you shall receive your fund without stress again.
Mrs. Gayleatha B. Brown,
Secretary to U.S.
Ambassador Benin Republic