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. )
- "money gram" (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 advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "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 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: FROM REGULAR MAIL POST OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC <email@example.com>
Reply-To: FROM REGULAR MAIL POST OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 15:49:30 -0700 (GMT-07:00)
Subject: GOOD NEWS FROM REGULAR MAIL POST
FROM REGULAR MAIL POST OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC.
THIS IS TO INFORM YOU THAT THERE IS AN ATM CARD IN THIS
OFFICE DEPOSITED BY A PRIVATE ORGANIZATION BODY ON THE 23RD /6/ 2010.
Your e-mail address was attached to it and is to be posted to you. we have
Been waiting for you to contact us for your confirmable atm card which
Contains the sum of $850,000.00 united state dollars and some vital
Documents. So kindly get back to this office (regular mail post office Benin
Republic) to avoid fraudulent issues concerning in this service.
Contact, Mr. James Smith
E-mail :( email@example.com)
You are to confirm and provide to us your postal address below.
YOUR FULL NAME...................
YOUR POSTAL ADDRESS..............
YOUR DIRECT PHONE................
Note: that you are to pay for the duty stamp fee of $98usd.you are advise
To send the duty stamp fee through western union or money gram to the post
Office with the manager's name below and forward the payment information to
The post office email :( firstname.lastname@example.org) for immediate stamp of
Your atm card.
RECEIVER NAME: ========MMORBA OKECHUKWU
COUNTRY: ============= BENIN REPUBLIC.
CITY: ================ COTONOU
TEXT Q: ============== HOW LONG?
TEXT A: ============== NOW:
Note: that every claims has an expiring period of fourteen working days
(14days) so you have to do that very urgently to avoid expiration.
YOUR BEST REGARD
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