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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "processing fee" (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. )
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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: WESTERN UNION <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2011 11:21:02 +0100 (BST)
Subject: YOUR URGENT REPLY NEEDED
Attn: Honorable Beneficiary.,
What is going on?, who is Jonathan T. Jefferson?Â I was trying to get you on phone regarding your US$1.5M but it seems as you don't want to pick my call. However, this Jonathan visited my office this Wednesday with a Beninios lawyer and application of claim over your $1.5Million USD, with this financial institution. Please, do confirm to me, as a matter of urgency if this man is really from you so that this office will not be held responsible for paying wrong person.
Based on board of directors meeting today, they have concluded to approve the payment on his favor since you failed to fulfill the neccessary obligation given to you by the western union to process your payment. Therefore, if you are really serious and willing to receive the first $5,000 through western union, kindly get back to me and I will work with you to complete the western union payment processing fees so that you will start receiving $5,000 everyday.
Since Western Union Payment processing fee is $145, in my concerted efforts to actualize your fund payment with the convenient time schedule I will raise $100, so I am expecting $45 from you today. Please note that the reason why I decided to help you pay part of the money is because I don't want your Funds to be forfeited by this government or be transfered to the wrong person, And I know that when you receive your total sum of US$1.5M, definitely you must compensate me.
As an insider in this Financial Institution, I must assure you that once you have provided to the Bank with their demands, they would now be under legal obligation to transfer the funds to you within 6hours we confirm this $45. YES, you must surely receive the first $5,000 within 6hours after you send this $45. However, as a matter of urgency, you are advised to hurry up and send the $45 dollars TODAY so that i will have it completed with the $100 i have at hand right now to enable us process your payment file so that we will start sending your daily payment of $5,000 to youÂ ok!.
Kindly make the payment to:
Test Question: Who Is Great
COUNTRY â BENIN REPUBLIC.
I will like you to co-operate with me to retrieve this legacy payment left behind than allowing the government of this country to forfeit it. I believed it is a life time opportunity which every reasonable human-being will never allow to slip by. We do business each day with an absolute commitment to ethics, honesty and credibility.Am waiting for your urgent response. Be warned!, Earlier the better...
DR DOMINIC OKOYE
WESTERN UNION HEAD OFFICE DEPARTMENT
REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
FOREIGN CONTRACTOR PAYMENT OFFICE