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:
- 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. )
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "HON. BARRISTER, NNAJI KINGSLEY.C" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 16:08:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Attn: Beneficiary,
How are you and family today? I am really confused here right now that our government is now trying to cancel your Fund, But I don't believe that after helping you provide sum of $230.00 out needed of $285.00 you cannot raise the remaining balance of $55.00 for Good three weeks now why, Listen I have never booked this kind of appointment before.
Why all this delay by sending this remaining balances of $55.00? The government is now out to start cancel all those Fund which the own is not ready yet to receive it, Are you sure that you are really BENEFICIARY? Or you are trying to claim the USD$1 Million on behalf of the person?
Any way (Government) in this country says that every beneficiary have only 48Hours to register the for delivery or re-confirm your account information to wire, And if you refuse to follow up the instructions will loose according to ( IMF) Director General so please to avoid you to blame any one here if you loose the Fund because $55.00 cannot make you to loose your fund if you really need it.
I prayer that God will make a way for you to raise the money before 48Hours if you believe me and my words because almighty father is my witness and only him knows what I be doing since to make sure that you receive your fund will delivery or wire to you before date to avoid our government to cancel it.
Here is the informationâs to send the remaining $55.00 through western union below:
1. RECEIVER NAME=====MR. NNAJI KINGSLEY.C
2. COUNTRY=====BENIN REPUBLIC
4. QUESTION======HOW MUCH
The amount you have to send now is $55.00 but please make sure that you will return my $230.00 back once you receive your fund of $1 Million United State Dollars because only God knows the reason that make me to help you in this matter.
I am expecting you with western union payment informationâs so that the deliver or wire transfer will commence immediately without further delay because I believe that we will conclude this transaction successful.
Meanwhile be a honest person to me like i am, and remember that I use Godâs name swear against my life because of this fund and to let you know that i am not lie to you. so hurry up please. Contact us back
I am waiting for the MTCN.
HON. BARRISTER, NNAJI KINGSLEY.C
CHIEF JUSTICE FEDERAL HIGH COURT.
TELE PHONE NUMBER +229-99481902.