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)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Elizabeth Daniela" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 21:06:54 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Money Gram Fast Cash Card
We are glad to announce to you today that a new payment policy has been adopted and you have been shortlisted for payment via Money Gram Fast Cash Card. We have concluded yesterday with the President Republic Of Benin His Excellency Dr. BONI YAYI and the Board of Directors Bank International Du Benin here in Benin Republic since Western Union and Other fast electronic fast transfer has failed to release your funds, that you will be receieving your payment of $850,000 United States Dollars through Money Gram Fast Cash Card.which you can make a withdraw maximium of US$10,000 per day.
So you are advise to contact the Money Gram Operator Mr Andrew Luck and re-confirm your informtion to him right now so that you will receieve your first payment immediately from now. Here is the contact email id And the information you need to send to him:
Contact person: Mr.Andrew Luck
Address: Bank International Du Benin
Reconfirm the Below information once again to avoid wrong delivering.
All this information is to avoid sending your money to another tripe. And you are to send $89 for registrating your payment files with the Money Gram; So here is the information for you to send the $89:
Receiver name: Marcel Onwujekwe
Country: Benin Republic
Send the money and contact me or Mr.Andrew Luck with the information and your full information and start receiving your fund the same day.
Yours in service,
Mrs. Elizabeth Daniela
Federal Republic Of Benin