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. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (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: SKYE BANK BENIN PLC <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2011 09:24:24 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Attention Dear Customer,
Attention Dear Customer,
This is to congratulate you for scaling through the hurdles of screening by the board of directors of this payment task force. Your payment file was approved and the instruction was given us to release your payment and activate your ATM card for use.
The first batch of your card which contains US$950,000.00 Thousand U.S. DOLLARS has been activated and is the total fund loaded inside the card. Your fund which is in total US$950,000.00 Thousand U.S. DOLLARS will come to you
Your payment would be sent to you via UPS or FedEx, Because we have signed a contract with them which should expired by 4TH 2011. Below are few list of tracking numbers you can track from UPS website(www.ups.com) to confirm people like you who have received their payment successfully.
JOHNNY ALMANTE ==============1Z2X59394198080570
GARY METZGER ==============1Z2X59394195952759
GLEN PAPANIKAS ==============1Z2X59394198690947
Good news, We wish to let you know that everything concerning your ATM CARD payment dispatch is ready in this office and we have a meeting with the house (Federal government of Benin) we informed them That your fund should not cost you any thing because is your money (Your Card). Moreover, we have an agreement with them that you should pay only delivering of your card which is only $50 U.S. DOLLARS by FedEx or UPS Delivering Company.
However, you have only three working days to send this $50 U.S. DOLLARS for the delivering of your card, if we don't hear from you with the payment information; the Federal Government will cancel the card.
Please try and send the Delivering fee in the name of My Secretary.Onyi John, Benin, send it via Western Union Money Transfer or Money gram and let me have the detail as soon as you send it.
Please confirm your full information by tomorrow your ATM Card will be delivered to you and I need you to send me a scanned copy of your id
This is the paying information that you will use and send the fee through western union money transfer or money gram below.
Receiver Name: Mr.Onyi John.
Destination: 45 Akpakpa Cotonou Republic Du Benin.
Test Question: Urgent
Test Answer: Message
I wait the payment information to enable us proceed for the delivering of your card. And when sending the payment information also reconfirm to us your full home address were to deliver the Card to avoid any mistake on the delivery.
Thank you and have a wonderful day.
Director ATM Swift Card/Foreign Operation Dept,
SKYE BANK BENIN PLC
CALL ME +229 98 95 28 02