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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "hundred thousand united state dollars" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS. MARY MOHAMMED" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2012 19:31:27 +0100 (BST)
Subject: FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION YOUR FUND.
INSTRUCTION FROM FBI
INTERNPOL POLICE FORCE UNIT.
DESK OF ROBERT S. MUELLER, III,
INTERPOL POLICE FORCE
WE ARE WORKING TOWARDS A
CORRUPTION-FREE WORLD BY PROMOTING AND DEFENDING INTEGRITY, JUSTICE AND THE RULE
OF LAWâ MISSION STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION ACADEMY,WE COVER
WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES.
THIS IS OFFICIAL NOTICE TO YOU THAT WE HAVE BEEN
MANDATED BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. PRESIDENT DR THOMAS BONI YAYI TO MONITOR AND
FOLLOW UP YOUR PAYMENT OF FOUR MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE
DOLLARS $2.5MILLION WITH WESTERN UNION BENIN REPUBLIC OFFICE.
WE CAME TO
UNDERSTAND THROUGH OUR INVESTIGATION TEAM THAT YOU HAVE BEEN TRYING TO CLAIM
YOUR FUNDS FOR A COUPLE OFÂ MONTHS NOW AND YOU ARE YET TO RECEIVE YOUR FUNDS DUE
TO CORRUPTIONS IN WESTERN UNION OFFICE.
IT WAS BASED ON THIS THAT HIS
EXCELLENCY MR. PRÃSIDENT MANDATES US TO HANDLE YOUR PAYMENT AND MAKE SURE THAT
YOU RECEIVE YOUR FUNDS WITHOUT ANY DELAY AS HE IS TRYING TO REBULID THE GOOD
IMAGE OF THIS COUNTRY WITH OUR FOREIGN CONTERPARTS ALL OVER THE
OUR DUTY IS TO PUT A STOP TO ALL CORRUPTION FREQUENTLY OCCURS AT
LOCAL OR NATIONAL LEVEL WITH THE HELP OF FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONÂ (FBI)
WHOM WE WORK HAND TO HAND WITH TO GET HOLD OF ALL THE HIDDEN AND IDENITIFY
THIEFS LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVEL.
THE INTERPOL POLICE GROUP OF
EXPERTS ON CORRUPTION (IGEC) AIMS TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT NEW INITIATIVES TO
FURTHER LAW ENFORCEMENTâS EFFICIENCY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION. IT IS A
MULTI-DISCIPLINARY GROUP WITH MEMBERS FROM ALL REGIONS OF THE WORLD,
COORDINATING AND HARMONIZING DIFFERENT NATIONAL AND REGIONAL
THE INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION ACADEMY WILL BE THE
WORLDâS FIRST EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE DEDICATED TO FIGHTING CORRUPTION.
WILL ALLOW LAW ENFORCEMENT PROFESSIONALS AND OTHERÂ TO LEARN FROM THE WORLDâS
FOREMOST AUTHORITIES IN ANTI-CORRUPTION TRAINING, RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATION.
WE NEED YOUR ABSOLUTE CO-OPERATION RIGHT NOW SO THAT YOU CAN RECEIVE
YOUR TOTAL AMOUNT OF $2,5MILLION WHICH IS NOW IN CUSTODY THE INTERPOL POLICE
FORCE UNITY OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC.
Â IN VIEW OF THIS DEVELOPMENT, YOU ARE
REQUESTED TO CONFIRM AND FURNISH US WITH YOUR FULL NAMES, POSTAGE ADDRESS AND
TELEPHONE NUMBERS TO ENABLE US PROCEED WITH PROCESS OF YOUR FUND DELIVERING TO
YOU THROUGH OUR DIPLOMATIC INTERNATIONAL INTERPOL POLICE FORCE UNITY IMMUNITY
SERVICE AS CONSIGNMENT TO YOUR DOOR STEP.
WE HAVE 186 MEMBER COUNTRIES.
CREATED IN 1923, IT FACILITATES CROSS-BORDER POLICE CO-OPERATION, AND SUPPORTS
AND ASSISTS ALL ORGANIZATIONS, AUTHORITIES AND SERVICES WHOSE MISSION IS TO
PREVENT INTERNATION CRIME.INTERPOL AIMS TO FACILITATE INTERNATIONAL POLICE FORCE
CO-OPERATION EVEN WHERE DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS DO NOT EXIST BETWEEN PARTICULAR
ACTION IS TAKEN WITHIN 72HOURS THE LIMITS OF EXISTING LAWS IN
DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AND IN THE SPIRIT OF THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN
RIGHTS. INTERPOLÂ CONSTITUTION PROHIBITS ANY INTERVENTION OR ACTIVITIES OF A
POLITICAL, MILITARY, RELIGIOUS OR RACIAL CHARACTER.
LEADERSHIP THE PRESIDENT OF INTERPOL POLICE FORCE AND THE SECRETARY GENERAL WORK
CLOSELY TOGETHER IN PROVIDING STRONG LEADERSHIP AND DIRECTION TO THE
Â INTERPOL POLICE FORCE, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE FEDERAL
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONÂ (FBI), IS WORKING TOWARDS THE RECOVERY OF FUNDS AND
RETURN OF STOLEN ASSETS.
THIS PROJECT ALLOWS INTERPOL TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE
NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT BODIES IN CO-ORDINATED EFFORTS TO TRACE, SEIZE,
CONFISCATE AND RETURN PUBLIC FUNDS TO VICTIM COUNTRIES AND INDIVDUALS.
REST ASSURED THAT UPON RECEIPT OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION AND THE DELIVERYING FEE
OF $67.00,WE WILL PROCEED IN DELIVERING OF YOUR CONSIGNMENT TO YOU
FOR SECURITY REASONS ENDEAVOUR TO INDICATE THIS ( CODE
NUMBER ) ( BJ/XXL14160) THIS CODE SHOWS THAT YOU ARE THE RIGHTFUL OWNER OF THE
INTERPOL POLICE ACCOUNTANT OFFICER NAME WHERE YOU SHOULD SEND THE
MR.Â PETER Â W. FRANCIS
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION F B I
YOURS IN SERVICE, PHOTOGRAPH OF DIRECTOR ROBERT S. MUELLER, IIIÂ DIRECTOR OFFICE
OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS