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. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Payment Notice <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Payment Notice <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2011 22:33:43 +0530 (IST)
Subject: Your Payment Is Ready
Your Payment Is Ready
Send Money Worldwide ADDRESS: PLOT 1,
SOUTHWARK BRIDGE, COTONOU .
REF NO: 250-153
We have arranged your payment of ($1.5Million) One Million Five Hundred Thousand united states dollars Previously in ATM payment card to be sent to you through western union money transfer payment.
Following directives and mandate this office received in respect of your over-due contract fund valued at $4.5m , I am delighted to inform you that your name was in the pay roll on the schedule of payment on the category you belong . Now we are trying to recall back the schedule and in the system, we were made to understand you have not receive your fund, very dishearten that you have not received your fund because in your payment schedule roll, other contractors short listed along side with your name have received their fund since.
When we cross examine into our computer diskette analysis data bank we discovered that you have not been paid for this reason your name has been short listed among other contractors whose fund has been over due for payment,
If you can adhere to my instructions and directives you will start receiving your fund within the next two(2) working days. Please you are advised to contact, the Director Due Process Unit in the Western Union Office for proper action as detailed above. We urge your maximum co-operation as we are obliged to serve you better and to restore back lost hope to you, kindly contact the bellow person who is in position to release your payment by western union per $3700 a day. We are unable to complete a transfer directed at an email address, so we require some more information in order to complete this transfer. In order to effect this payment, please Contact the western union paying agent for more details, and send the information bellow to
DR BANKOLA LUTHER, Western union department
Call Direct Telephone :(+229 962 82 749)
The financial western union payment centre has been mandated to issue out your payment and you have to stop any further communication with any other person(s) or office(s) to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment. Note that the administrator payment need this details from you to process your payment therefore you need not to delay but to proceed immediately in contact with the western union office and includes all your data information where to send your payment to avoid mistake or error transfer to wrong person or none ownership of the fund. Upon the receipt of the needed information, the payment will be made out in your name by the Benin Republic Du Benin western union Authority Officials.
(D) A Copy Of Your Id Card------------------------
(F)Tele Phone For effective Communications -------------------------
Call Direct Telephone :(+229 962 82 749)
Comply now because as soon as you send the required details to DR BANKOLA LUTHER he will start sending your payment by western union.
Mrs Mornica Jackson