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. )
- "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. )
- "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: "Mrs.Courtney Miles." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2011 12:37:57 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: FROM DESK OF OCEANI BANK PLC BENIN REPUBLIC
FROM DESK OF OCEANI BANK PLC BENIN
CONTACT: MR. PAUL MICHAEL.
ADDRESS; AVENUE STERMETZ RUE 1255
E-MAI : email@example.com
Honestly iam just dissapointed at your
behaviour because you know that i am a man of God and cannot deceive you. just
pay the $78 and leave me and my God because God is watching me if i am telling
I know it is because of your past
exprience that make you not to believe me but i told you before my God who is my
withness that i cannot deceive you because my bible says what shall it profit a
man to gain material things and loose your soul. i told you ealier just drop
your old exprience and follow my intruction a man of God and you will know what
it means to follow somebody that fear God.
I swear to God almight
Father. if i fail to deliver you ATM CARD CONSIGNMENTwithin 48hours after you
send the $78 as i promise let God Take my life, i cannot fail you,i promise you.
dont fear as soon as you sent the $78 today please leave the rest to me and see
if i am lie to you or not because i can not use my life swear because of
How can i swear against my life because of this atm card
consignment,but is to show you that i am telling you the truth. so please try to
understand me this $78 is big amount but is too small for the amount you have to
receive within 48hours okey.
Here is the informations to use send the
money so that we will complete the matter once and for all.$78 only no more
payment i swear to God and your ATM CARD will leave immediately i receive
payment here okey. I here by giving you 100%Assurance that your ATM CARD is
valid and you can start using it once the card is arrive.
Here is the
informations to make the payment through western union money transfer
RECEIVE NAME:----------MR.EJIKE PETER
NO:171 AKIL ROAD COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC
TEXT QUESTION:--------- Almight
I am looking forward to hear from you right now and know what is
holding not to make the payment as you said because i hate any thing promise and
I am waiting to hear from you now.
TELE PHONE: +229 98952802
OCEANIC BANK PLC
REPUBLIC: NO:171 AKIL ROAD