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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "million dollars" (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)
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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: INTERPOL BENIN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2011 23:58:04 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: FROM INTERNATIONAL POLICE FORCE UNIT: +229 9833 0553
FROM INTERNATIONAL POLICE FORCE UNIT: +229 9833 0553
My name is Mr.david john the Inspector General Of Police Benin Republic. This is to inform you that we have arrested some of those internet scammer that extorts money from you. We were able to get your email through those that extort money from you when the police got them arrested,One of them gave us your email address.
The government of this country Benin Republic has approved the sum of ($2.6million dollars ) to be send to you in cash as one of the scam victim. We have deposited your fund with DHL COURIER COMPANY here in Benin Republic to be delivered to you within 48hrs and your fund has be registered in DHL COURIER COMPANY as consignment box on no condition should you let the DHL COURIER COMPANY know that the consignment box contents FUND for security reasons. All the delivery fee has already been paid the only money you will pay is $55 to get a copy of Police Clearance Form here in our office to enable us forward your Information to Dhl Courier Company for the Delivery of your fund to your address.
You are advise to send the $39 via western union below.
Receiver Name========OKECHUKWU ONYEAKA
You are expected to notify us with the payment information as soon as you send the $55.00 to enable us get the copy of Police Clearance Form for urgent delivery of your consignment to your home address by the DHL COURIER COMPANY.
Contact our Payment Office with this information below for quick deliver of your Fund Consignment. Inspector General Of Police Benin Republic
Contact Mr.david john
Telephone Number +229 9833 0553
Call my office telephone number once you receive this message for more information.
Inspector General Of Police Benin Republic
Inspector General of fraud International Police Force Unit.Email Address ; (email@example.com)