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:
- "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)
- 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: "DR. REV EDWARD DOUGLAS" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 31 May 2011 12:33:46 +0530 (IST)
Subject: DR. REV EDWARD DOUGLAS, DIRECTOR GENERAL
DR. REV EDWARD DOUGLAS, DIRECTOR GENERAL
TELEPHONE NUMBER +229-98123964
CONTACT EMAIL, email@example.com
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC: NO:19 UCHE ROAD
Dear Esteem Customer,
Honestly, I am just disappointed at your behaviours because you know that I am man of God and cannot deceive you. Just pay the US$89.00 and leave me and my God because God is watching me if I am telling you lies.
I know it is because of your past experience that makes you not to believe me but I told you before my God who is my wittiness that I cannot deceive you because my bible says what shall it profit a man to gain material things and lose your soul. I told you earlier just drop your old experience and follow my instruction as a man of God and you will know what it means to follow somebody that fear God.
I swear to God almighty Father. If I fail to deliver you ATM CARD within 48hours after you send the US$89.00 as I promise let God Take my life, I cannot fail you, I promise you. Donât fear as soon as you sent the US$89.00 today please leave the rest to me and see if I am lie to you or not because I cannot use my life swear because of US$89.00
How can I swear against my life because of this small amount, it is to show you that I am telling you the truth?
Here is the informationâs to use send the money so that we will complete the matter once and for all because the US$89.00 is only money you have to send until you receive the ATM CARD at you hand. I swear to God almighty father with my life that your ATM CARD will leave immediately you send the money okay.
Honestly I am here by giving you 100%Assurance that your ATM CARD is valid and you can start using it once the card is arrive. Here are the informationâs to make the payment through western union money transfer below:
RECEIVE NAME...........MR. OKECHUKWU CHIBIKE
TEXT QUESTION:........IN GOD
I am looking forward to hear from you right now I hate any thing promise and fail please CARD i advise you to send the money immediately before you get back to me with payment informationâs.
It is my pleasure to inform you that ATM Card Number; 5330-8008-2917-8070 have been approved in your favour. Your Personal Identification Number is 4481.
contact us with this Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am waiting to hear from you with the payment detail
UBA BANK BENIN REPUBLIC.
DR. REV EDWARD DOUGLAS DIRECTOR GENERAL
TELEPHONE NUMBER +229-98123964