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. )
- "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 (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Western Union Money Transfer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2011 10:11:11 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Our Western Union is now offering a CHRISTMAS Special BONUS
FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
COTONOU, REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
CUSTOMER CARE: email@example.com
DEAR VALUED CUSTOMER,
This is to
notify you about the latest development concerning all the payments that
are left in our custody, which yours are inclusive,Besides your where
given a bill of $350 in order to receive your payment of which we didn't
hear from you for some time now....Hence, Our Western Union is now
offering a CHRISTMAS Special BONUS to help all our customers that are
having their payment in our custody due to of prices. In order words we
are now requesting that those involve should pay only the sum of $59 to
receive all their payment abandoned in our custody.
dear, this is the opportunity for you and have to comply and your funds
shall be transfer to your designated address.But remember that after (3
DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will divert your funds to
Government Fund, to avoid problem or we will cancel the payment for this
year until next year because this year is not like last year.Again
after (THREE DAYS ) We will enter A new project 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 be advise to send the $59 immediately so that we
will register your payment and for to start receive $5,000 as from
Be advise that
there is no time again for we to call any person on phone unless you
will call+229-98679345 E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org After the
payment of $59 you will start receiving your money every day $5,000
through Western Union
Send the money through Western Union Money Transfer with the information below,
Receiver's Name== Itemba Joseph
Country== Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Text Question== In God
Answer== We trust
Amount Only= $59
The moment i
receive the payment of $59 i will release the first payment information
of $5,000 to you and you will pick up the money and i will send you
another money. Hoping to hear from you.
FOR ENQUIRY, CALL +229-98679345
Western Union® Money Transfer,
Head Office Benin Republic.
Send Money Worldwide
With Western Union Money Transfer
service, Money transfer is performed in 15-20 minutes and bank account
is not required. We only transfer via Western Union, no Bank Wire