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:
- "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. )
- "are expected to pay " (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. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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)
Fraud email example:
From: Federal Ministry Of Finance <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2011 16:00:38 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Attn: My Dear Beneficiary.
Â Send Money Worldwide
FROM THE DESK OF WESTERN UNION MONEYÂ REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT FROM DESK OF
FINANCIAL MINISTER OF. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN.FORGN CONTRACTOR PAYMENT OFFICE.
Attn: My Dear Beneficiary.
The Board of federal
ministry of finance benin republic. are here to notify you of your
payment inherited funds of $1.5M.000. after the meeting held on 8th
of Nov 2011.HisÂ Exelence the PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN
DR.YAYI BONI. has Instructed this Department to send your funds through
western union money transfer for easier receive of your inherinted funds
without any further delay. to avoid paying money to the fraud stars
that is going on through the global. you are required to send your name
and address were you want your fund to be send through western union the
maximium amount you will be receiving each day starting from tomorrow
is the sum of $5000.00. also your are required to send us the sum of $73
dollar for re-newing and recofirming your file that was deposited in
this office with your name and address bellow.
This is to notify
all our you about the latest development
concerning all the payment that are left in our custody,which yours are
inclusive Besides, your where given a bill of $73,in order to receive
your payment of which we didnât hear from you for sometime now......
our Western UnionÂ is now offering a Special BONUS to help all our
customers that are having their paymentÂ in our custody due to of
prices. In order words we are now requesting that those involve should
pay only the sum of $73. 00 to receive all their payment abandoned in
Besides, my dear, this is the opportunity for you
and have to comply and your fundsÂ shall be transfer to your desginated
address. But remember that after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment
then we will divert your funds to Goverment Fund, to aviod problem or we
will cancel the payment for this year untill next yearÂ because this
year is not like last year.
Again after (THREE DAYS ) We will
enter A new projectÂ Â for the year and that is the reason why we
decided to help to all our customers before we enter into the new
project. So beÂ advise to send the $73.00 immediately so that we will
register your payment and for to start receive $5,000 as from tomorrow.
advise that there is no time again for we to call any person on phone
unless you will call +22998-95-28-02 / Mr Anthony Robert. After the
payment of $73.00 you will start receiveing your money everyÂ day$5,000
through Western Union Send the money through Western Union Money
Transfer with the information below,
Note that you are
expected to pay only $73.00 for re-newing and recofirming your file and
you are to pay it to Benin Republic as the origination of the fund in
favour ofÂ Mrs. Helen Obalaku. as our accountant officer in
BeninÂ Republic Send the $73.00Â through western union once you receive
this mail with the information below for immediate release of your
The Payment instructions:
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Receiver Name:......Mrs. Helen Obalaku.
Text Question:........To Whom
The moment i
receive the payment of $73 i will release the first payment informations
of $5,000 to you and you will pick up the money and i will send you
another money.. Hoping to hear from you.
are required by this Department to send the Renewing & Reconfirming
of your file charges of $73.00 dollar to OCEANIC BANK PLC WESTERN UNION
MONEY TRANSFER to help the Renew & Reconfirm you file that was
deposited in the BANK along with your name and address below.
Indicate your payment file code of (#03-971) to them when contacting or calling them.Extra Mail Address:(firstname.lastname@example.org)
in service We are waiting for your urgent respond immediately and beÂ
rest assured of our honest service of releasing your full
funds(1.5M.000)Â in our system once this instructions is abid.
Mrs. Helen Obalaku.
Mr Anthony Robert