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. )
- "million 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.
- 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; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: DR BEN OKOYE <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 16:29:10 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: AN ONLINE BANKING ACCOUNT HAS BEEN CREDITED IN YOUR FAVOR
AN ONLINE BANKING ACCOUNT HAS BEEN CREDITED IN YOUR FAVOR
am hereby writing to inform you that the government of Benin has today
afternoon deposit your inheritance $1.5 Million united state dollars
with this bank. The government had a clear mandate to open an account in
your name with the bank and set up an on-line transfer that you will
use to transfer the funds into your personal account.
the government deposited your funds to the bank . The bank has finally
opened an account in your name. Be advice that the bank has already
created on-line transfer with the account that opened in your favor this
afternoon. And theÂ $1.5
Million of funds has been transferred to the account that my bank open
in your favor. The on-line banking account details are follows.
Welcome! To - CB B Online Pl c Secure Account Page
Online Banking Account
Diamond Bank Sort Code
Name Of bank
International Money Transfer
Swift Code PNBPUS33
Account Number 0020578055
Transfer CODE TRANS-ID:Â
Bank Name :Â
Amount :Â Routing Number:Â Swift
Code:Â Transfer PIN:Â
bank did not you charge you any fee. You need to obtain a Access
Transfer Code, For your information, you will be able to start accessing
your online banking account as soon as you obtain this code.
You are to pay $52 dollars to obtain the Access Transfer Code.Â Here is information on how to send the fee through western union.
Receiver's name...Â Mr.Okechukwu E Obiedo
Country.. Benin Republic
us with the MTCN and senderâs name once payment is made. The bank will
issue Access transfer code as soon as we confirm payment details.
Mr Ben Okoye
Head of operation manager