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:
- "from the desk of" (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. )
- "farida mzamber waziri" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: Western Union Money Transfer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 2 Oct 2011 17:33:13 +0100 (BST)
Subject: I Am Chief Mrs. Farida Mzamber Waziri (New Chairman EFCC) Chairman From Efcc Investigation Office Benin writing to you from western union email address
FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR
WESTERN UNION MONEY
COTONOU, REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
I Am Chief Mrs. Farida Mzamber Waziri (New Chairman EFCC)
Chairman From Efcc Investigation Office Benin writing to you from western union
email address due i was invite for very serious investigation regarding your
funds.There Is Presently A Counter Claims On Your Funds By One Mr.Jude Betsy,
Who Is Presently Trying To Make Us Believe That You Are Dead And Even Explained
That You Entered Into An Agreement With Him, To Help You
In Receiving Your
Fund And That Was My Reason Of Calling For Confirmation.
According to the
Western Union manager they have sent you several email regarding the issue but
no response before they contacted us to make final inquiring before releasing
the funds to MR.Jude Betsy of ADDRESS:302 FOXRIDGE LANE, HUBERT, NC 28539
We Shall Proceed To Issue All Payments Details To The Said Mr.Jude
Betsy, If We Do Not Hear From You Within The Next 5hours from now i so much
waited for an update if you were able to get the fee of $82 as was stated.
Please let us know that you are not dead by sending us the
requested fee by
today so that we can get things done by today without
any further delay
DISPATCHED THIS DAY. FOR
Head Office Benin