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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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: "W U OFFICE" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2011 00:49:06 -0700
Subject: YOUR PAYMENT INFORMATIONS
THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC/ADDRESS
BRANCH: PLOT 785 INDUSTRIAL AVENUE
Tel: (00229) 98 119021 / Fax: (+229) 21038104
BENIN REPUBLIC Website: www.westernunion.com
Please if you really want your fund to be pick up to you without delay, Kindly go and send only $50 because there is no time to delay regarding the transfer of this your Fund, it is good to be good, the lord said that many are called but few are chosen, do listing to anything that I told you because it must surely come to happen, Are you ready to pick up this $5000.00 sent today. We have concluded to effect your payment through western union $5000.00 daily until the sum $800.000.00 is completely transferred
Meanwhile, I am Mrs. Love kofi we have transfer your first payment this morning. Contact Western union Payment and Release order Mrs. Blessing Paul to pick up this $5000 now: TEL: +22998119021 Email email@example.com
You should be wondering why am telling you all this, and I pray that you should get what ever things you want and God shall supply all your need as stated by his riches in glory. Go ahead to send the money $50 only, it is only this $50 holds your fund to be set free to you in your country ,Because I have make all the necessary arrangement to set your fund free $800,000.00 used to you, I can not deceive you at all because of $50 but am only telling you the truth because my Bible say that I am the truth and the life and also "he emphasis that only truth can save, that is the reason why I keep on telling you to go and send the money and receive your fund,
Here is the payment information which you will use to send the $50.00 immediately below is.
Receive Name: blessing Paul
Country: Benin Republic
Text Q: in whom we trust?
Answer: in God.
Do not worry about, everything is getting to be ok!
We are waiting to receive the information as soon as possible.
Yours in service Mrs. blessing Paul
Federal western union Federal republic of Benin