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. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- carl the inspector general e-mail------ email@example.com telephone--+229 986 185 61 we are working towards a (Superposta; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr John Ikenna." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mr John Ikenna." <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 10:26:20 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: FORM INTERPOL POLICE
You are welcome to desk of Chief Hon,Jeff Robert Carl the inspector
general of International Interpol Police Force Investigating Benin
Republic.Chief Hon,Jeff Robert Carl the inspector general
Telephone--+229 986 185 61
We are Working towards a corruption-free world by promoting and
defending integrity, justice and the rule of law! Mission statement of
the International Anti-Corruption Academy, We cover West African
I hope you remember that your funds which we want to send to you
through FedEX Courier Company are still with the FedEx because of the
charge they demand from you which you didn't pay to them, anyway i am
here to let you know that i went there today and i saw your
consignment and it is in there packing store and they said that if you
pay the fee plus there security keeping charge that your consignment
box will be ship out the same day you pay the fee and asked to know
how much it is and they said that it is $455 and i paid them $400 , so
please to avoid any more delaying, please i advise you send them the
remaining $55 today after you finish reading this message because the
$400 is almost what i had with me and i paid it to them, so i am
waiting to hear from you once you are done with the payment through
Western Union to this information below.
Use Western Union Only For The Payment.
Receiver Name.......NWALIEJI MARCEL
Contact the FedEx Courier Company through here.
Dr Brendon Demas Director Of Fedex Courier Company
Direct Telephone line +22997901333.
Please call our office telephone number once the consignment is
delivered to you .
God bless and contact us through this e-mail below only.
FROM INTERPOL POLICE FORCE UNIT.
Hon.Chief Jeff Robert Carl the inspector general
Telephone--+229 986 185 61