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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "from the desk of" (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. )
- "million 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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR SAM HARRY" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2011 13:38:38 +0100
Subject: TO HELP ALL OUR CUSTOMERS
FROM THE DESK OF MR SAM HARRY
FINANCIAL MINISTER OF. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
FOREIGN DEPARTMENT PAYMENT OFFICE.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
This is to notify all our customers about the latest development concerning all the payment that are left in our custody since last year which yours are inclusive Besides, your where given a bill in order to receive your payment of which we didnt hear from you for sometime now.
Hence, our Western Union is now offering a Special bonus to help all our customers that are having their payment in our custody due to because of price. in order words we are now requesting that those involve should pay only the sum of $100. 00 to receive all their payment abandoned in our custody.
Besides, my dear, this is the opportunity for you and have to comply and your funds shall be transfer to you without any delay.But remember that after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will divert your funds to government fund to avoid problem or we will cancel the payment for this year until next year,
Again after (this week) We will enter A new project and that is the reason we decide to help all our customers before we enter new project
So be advise to send the $100 .00 immediately so that we will register your payment and for you to start receive $4,500.00 as from tomorrow. Remember That your payment funds is only (1.7 million dollars)
Be advise that there is no time again for we to call any person on phone unless you will call...+229 98426925 After the payment of $100.00 you will start receiving your money every blessed day $4,500.00 through western union
Send the money through Western Union Money Transfer with the information below:
Receiver Name::Obalimu Lowrence
Country: Benin Republic.
Answer:::::: Our strength
I will be waiting to hear from you today with the payment information's
MR SAM HARRY