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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "million us 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)
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- branch(gra) way,ayaboninsa avenue, cotonou-benin. email (email@example.com) (+234) 8183123929 good day to you, this is the second (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: TNT COURERE DELIVERY SERVICE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: TNT COURERE DELIVERY SERVICE <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2012 11:57:25 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
Subject: TNT COURRE DELIVERY SERVICE
Offers Shipping Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management and to any where in the world. Company Address: Plot 5,Government residential area branch(GRA) Way,Ayaboninsa Avenue, COTONOU-BENIN.
Good day to you, this is the second notice we are sending to you in regards to your atm visa card left here in our office, we notified you about this few weeks ago but we havenât heard from you up till this moment.
Many other packages, which we are supposed to deliver together with yours had already been delivered to their various owners and yet yours is still here in our company. You can check on our website www.tnt.com track with the written numbers below and see those whom we have already delivered; they all have received their shipments in a good condition.
Tracking number: 396100765 ( already delivered )
This is the evidence of the shipments we have already made safely and no complain.
Today we brought out some packages abandon here in our office, so that is where we found yours sealed in an envelope. We had to open this all to find out is an atm card.
Attached to this, is a letter sealed in the same envelope stating that this card worth the sum $2.6 Million US Dollars also that it has already been activated for use.
Reading down on this letter, which explains that the pin numbers of the card will not be giving to any other person but you and it has to be from the bank Oceanic Bank which issued this card. If you wish to speak with the bank to acquire your pin numbers, you can reach the bank on with E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Person to contact, Mr. Mike Odili
Phone no: +234-8039526589
The pin numbers will be issued to you by this bank; this will be when the card gets to you tomorrow. We had a dispute with the (NICON) Insurance office about your insurance certificate which they demand $155 for that, but now all has been settled. We are happy to inform you that Your ATM CARD is inside one of the ENVELOPES we are to dispatch today.
Since you are having it difficult to raise the $155 needed, the fee is now reduced to $55 for you. So you can now send $55 only to receive your CARD. A tracking number will be forwarded to you upon receiving the fee $55. The agent will call you once the package arrives in your city then you give him more directions on how to drive down to your house. You will need to sign on the papers which he will give to you once the driver reaches your house. After this, you have to call the bank for your pin# as this can not be send in a mail to you for some security reasons. Note, you can also change the pin numbers if so desire for your own safety.
You are advised to send a total sum of $55.00 via western union OR money gram to the name of our receiving agent below.
Receiver's name_________Anagor lawrence ifezue
Answer _____________is yes
Forward the payment information to us immediately you send the $55 dollars today. We are waiting your urgent respond so we can move out the card today.
Once the card is dispatched today, you should expect the arrival tomorrow. So please we advice you stay and wait to receive the card personally because we wonât like giving it to someone else unless you have an urgent place to attend then you must drop a written note with whom ever you ask to receive it on your behalf.
MR. FABIAN OKOYE
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