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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: High Court Of Ecowas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 21:46:14 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: FROM HIGH COURT OF ECOWAS RB BRANCH:
FROM HIGH COURT OF ECOWAS RB BRANCH:
B/OP/1234 PLOT AKPAKPA, COTONOU BENIN REP.
OUR REF.CODE: BSEL/773/AWN/021/09
Phone;+229 93 04 83 71
Fax; +2299 21 04 35
Please my dear, the entire High Court Of Ecowas Benin Republic are here to make it clear to you that there was a case that was been handling in this ECOWAS since JENUARY 25th 2010 concerning your funds because we got some reports that you did not received your funds since after every storrys you heard regarding the funds and all type of payments you have be paid to receive the funds but none is received by you.
And we are hereby to know the truth because the person that is in charge of the transaction said in this court here that you have received your funds and confirmed to him that you received your funds........But we can't mention the name to you, to know if is truth or not when you mention.
Please we want to hear the truth from you, because acording to the president of this country Dr.Yayi Boni, he told us that you did not receive your funds since last year , he stated that his office did not have your name in file of those who received their funds from benin republic.
Please here bellow is what we want you to answer to enable us to handle this case normal as the reporter said that it has been done to you.
(1)Do you receive any money from Africa ............?.
(2)If you received money from Africa; how much.............?
(3)Through which way, bank or courier do you received the money from.........?
(4) Is it true that you receieved money through western union .......?
(5) In which date or year.......................?
(6)Which authirity approve the file ..................??
(7) Why can you let us know since?
Please we advise you to go direct to this question above and answer us immedaitely because we want to get the truth from you. Base on the issue, this time if you don't receive your funds, you will receive it according to the instruction of this High Court Of Ecowas Benin Republic after our verrifications because we have been receiving news from your Government that our Government officials and personalities were scamming people of your Country and that is what we are going to handle at once and we need your reply so that we can get the truth.
But please the truth and sincere is what we required from you because you must prove to us by forwarding the emails and names and contacts phone of those peoples who was scamed you before,,, for the evidence, as we promise to tress them; while the your $2.400,000.00 will be paid to you.
Noted that we have reported this you to local FBI authority; that you are still communicating with wrong Africa peoples who were working inside internet sammering Innocent People like. Therefore is rest assure that you should stop any further contact with those crooks who were sending you scam proposals from Nigerian, Benin, Togo, Ghana etc in order to extory money from you pocket.
Get back to us immediately for us to find out the truth from you, to enable you receieve your funds soonest.
Chief Judge Theodore Bolo
FROM HIGH COURT BENIN REP: BRANCH.
Phone: +229 93 04 83 71