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:
- 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. )
- "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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR.PETER EZEH" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 08:20:17 -0700
Subject: MR.PETER EZEH THE NEW PROMOTED MANAGER OF WESTERN UNION
SEND MONEY WORLDWIDE:
OFFICE OF THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC/ADDRESS 473 LEU, DE AKPAKPA ROAD.
WELCOME TO WESTERN UNION
Email address: email@example.com
ATTENTION BENEFICIARY, I AM MR.PETER EZEH
PLEASE WE ARE VERY SORRY FOR ALL THE PROBLEM THAT YOU HAVE PASSED THROUGH BECAUSE OF THIS YOUR BELONG PAYMENT OF WHICH YOU FAILED TILL NOW, FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO INTRODUCE MY SELF TO YOU, MY NAME IS MR.PETER EZEH,I AM THE NEW ELECTED DIRECTOR GENERAL OF WESTERN UNION OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC I HAVE BEEN CHOSEN LAST WEEK. I AM WRITING THIS MAIL WITH DEEP SORROW, I SAW YOUR NAME ON OUR FILE YESTERDAY THROUGH MY SEARCHING AS THE ONE OF THE MOST BENEFICIARY WHICH DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR FUND VALUED $950,000.00 USD WHICH SUPPOSES TO BE TRANSFERRING AT THE RATE OF $5,000.00 PER DAY DURING FORMER MANAGER REGIME.
THE REASON I AM EMAILING YOU TODAY IS TO INFORM YOU THAT THE FORMER WESTERN UNION MANAGER. HAS BEEN SACKED OUT SINCE LAST WEEK DUE TO HIS ILLEGAL WORK UNGODLY ACT, I AM HERE TO INFORM YOU THAT THE ONLY THING THAT WILL LEAD YOU TO RECEIVE YOUR FUND IS BY TRUSTING ME AND FOLLOW MY DIRECTION. YOU SENT LOT MONEY TO HIM IN ORDER TO GET YOUR FUND WHICH FAILS. THEREFORE I AM TO TELL YOU THAT THE REASON YOU DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR FUND IS BECAUSE YOU DID NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECT WAY TO GET YOUR FUND BUT TO EXTORTING MONEY FROM YOU IN VARIOUS QUARTERS. DUE TO THE FORMER MANAGER'S ATTITUDE WE THEREFORE RESOLVE TO SACKED HIM OUT SINCE HE DIDN'T KEEP OUR INSTRUCTION,
SO NOW WE HAVE ARRANGED TO PAY YOU BECAUSE ALL OUR INVESTIGATED CONFIRMED THAT YOU ARE THE RIGHT PERSON TO RECEIVE THIS FUND NOTE WE HAVE TWO OPTION TO PAY YOU AND YOU THE ONE TO MAKE YOUR CHOICE OPTION (1) 0UR WESTERN UNION GOLD CARD WHICH YOU WILL WITHDRAW DAILY $4000.00 OPTION (2) RECEIVE DAILY CASH $5,000.00 TILL THE TOTAL PAYMENT COMPLETED. THERE IS ONE CERTIFICATE CALLED (FUND RELEASE ORDER CERTIFICATES) WHICH YOU SUPPOSE TO OBTAIN FROM FEDERAL HIGH COURT SERVICES WHICH WILL NOTICED THAT YOU ARE NOT A BENIN CITIZEN BUT YOU DID NOT HAVE IT AND THAT IS ONLY WHAT YOU NEEDED NOW.
ACCORDING TO THE INSTRUCTION PASSED TO THIS WESTERN UNION DEPARTMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE (FEDERAL HIGH COURT SERVICES) THIS WILL DULY GUARANTEE AND COVER THE MONEY AS BEING LEGITIMATELY ACQUIRED FROM THE BENIN GOVERNMENT. SO I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOUR FUND OF $950,000.00 USD IS STILL WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ACCOUNT BUT IT WILL RELEASE IMMEDIATELY TO THIS WESTERN UNION OFFICE AS SOON AS YOU OBTAIN THE (FUND RELEASE ORDER CERTIFICATES)
ACCORDING TO OUR MESSENGER WHICH WENT TO THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT SERVICES OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC FOR THE RELEASE ORDER CERTIFICATES HE TOLD US THAT IT WILL COST YOU THE SUM OF $79.00 ONLY FOR THE OBTAIN OF IT, SO HE TOLD US THAT THEY WILL ISSUE IT WITHIN ONE DAY IF THE FEE WILL BE PAID. SO RECONFIRM US YOUR FULL ADDRESS WITH THE OPTION EITHER YOU WANT IT GOLD CARD OR DAILY PER OK I WILL BE AWAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU IMMEDIATELY WITH THE PAYMENT INFORMATION TO OBTAIN THE FUND RELEASE ORDER CERTIFICATES,
1. RECEIVER NAME :=======MR,PRINCE AUSTINE
2. CITY/COUNTRY:==========BENIN REPUBLIC.
3. QUESTION=============FOR WHAT?
I AM HERE GIVING YOUR GUARANTEE AND ALSO 100 % PERCENT ASSURANCE THAT THIS IS THE ONLY MONEY YOU WILL PAY AND AFTER YOU PAY IT YOU WILL RECEIVE YOUR FUND IMMEDIATELY. I WILL BE WAITING RIGHT TO HAVE THE PAYMENT INFORMATION IN ORDER TO ENABLE US OBTAIN THIS NEEDED CERTIFICATE SOON. EMAIL US @ firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NEW PROMOTED MANAGER OF WESTERN UNION PORTO NOVO BENIN REPUBLIC.