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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "diplomatic agent" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist 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 (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Fedex Express Company <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2012 00:08:05 +0800 (CST)
Subject: YOUR URGENT RESPONSE IS HIGHLY NEEDED
FedEx Express Delivery Services Benin
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING / F.M.C. - NVOCC - O.T.I. #019153NF UNITED
LOGISTICS / AIR CARGO T.S.A.- I.A.C. WHOLESALER / PROJECT CARGO/FREIGHT
FORWARDER "SINCE 1991 OUR REPUTATION FOR SERVICE AND
SAVINGS IS OUR MOST VALUE ASSET"
FedEx Express Delivery Services Benin Republic
Motto: Honest &
WELLCOME TO FedEx EXPRESS DELIVERY SERVICES
From The Fedex
shipment officerFedex Express Delivery Services Cotonou
Our Ref: Fedex.S.B/MF/B01/ Vol01Your
Ref: Your Verifications code (PX002)
Attention: Dear Beneficiary
I write to recall your attention that
i have being calling your number since to let you know that i have raised some
funds to assist you for the official keeping fee and stamp for security reasons
then your Consignment Box valued sum of Two Million Six Hundred Thousand United
State Dollars ($2.6m) with Registration Number (Px002) according to the
document we have here will be deliver to your house address in Your Country
but your number didn't go through so i decided to send you an email to keep you
So call me +229-98-211-297 or
send us an email because it still Balance of $60Usd.00 only to complete the
payment then your package will be deliver to your designated address without any
delay or hitch. And i want to inform you that you will receive your parcel
under 72hrs after the confirmation of $60.00
Please for an Authentic Result and To avoid wrong
delivery by the Diplomatic agent Mr
Paul Rhode .who was assigned to handle the delivery You are to reconfirm
the following Information
Tel N0 Both Home
Attach Copy of Driving License or
Respond Immediately so that your consignment can be
delivered to you immediately.
Finally, Below is the
Payment Information to send the $60.00 via western union
We remain your
service Company and hope to meet again for more delivery.
DR PETER IKE
DIRECTOR FEDEX DELIVERY COMPANY COMANY
Confidentiality Note: The information contained in this
message is confidential and/or privileged.This message is intended to be read
only by the person named above