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:
- "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. )
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "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: "MR.KEVIN JARRY" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2012 08:03:40 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Welcome to Western Union Money Transfer Send Money Worldwide
Welcome to Western Union Money Transfer
Send Money Worldwide
FROM DESK OF MR.KEVIN JARRY.
WESTERN UNION PAYMENT OFFICE BENIN .
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
FOREIGN CONTRACTOR PAYMENT OFFICE.
E.MAIL( firstname.lastname@example.org )
TEL; +229 99 88 3009
PLEASE YOU ARE ADVISE TO GO TROUGH THIS EMAIL CAREFULLY AND AND MAKE SURE
YOU UNDERSTAND AND READY TO COMPLY WITH THE CONTENTS BEFORE REPLYING TO
IT. WE ARE INSTRUCTED BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF BENIN TO TRANSFER YOUR FUND
TO YOU VIA OUR SERVICE (WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER) SO YOU WILL BE
RECIEVING $5,000.00 USD DAILY UNTILL IT COMPLETE THE CORRECT AMOUNT
MEANWHILE YOU ARE REQUIRE TO SEND US THE TRANSFER CHARGES WHICH is $185USD
FOR THE $5,000.00 THAT WE HAVE ALREADY REMIT TO YOUR NAME BECAUSE WITH
OUT THAT YOU CAN NOT PICK THE MONEY FORIT IS ON HOLD.
NOTE: THE REASON WHY WE NEED YOU TO SEND US THE $185USD IS THAT WE TRIED
TO DIDUCT THE TRANSFERING FEE OUT FROM YOUR FUND BUT THE MINISTER
ADMINISTRATOR TRUST FUND OF BENIN REPUBLIC TOLD US THAT NO ONE HAS ACESS
OVER YOUR FUND AS IT HAVE BEEN SIGNED AND STAMPED THAT NO MONEY SHOULD BE
DIDUCTED UNTIL IT GETS TO YOU TO AVOID ANY MISUNDERSTANDING BEACUSE IF ANY
ONE HAS ACESS TO THAT IT WILL INVOLVE YOU LOOSING YOUR FUND, NO ONE HAS TO
BE TRUST EVEN YOUR MOTHER OR YOUR FATHER.
HERE IS THE INFORMATION OF THE ONE WE SENT TODAY TO YOU BUT IT WILL REMAIN
ON HELD UNTIL YOU SEND US OUR TRANSFER CHARGES OF $185, USD. BEFORE WE
CAN RELEASESE IT TO YOU
i want you to konw that if i can do that i would have do it before
contacting you so try to make the payment before the only dealy now is the
$185.00usd that is the only delay now so try your possible best and send
the fee to enable us release your first payment to you immedaitely your we
confirm the payment from you
once agin i want you to konw that the the information is the corrent
infotmation we are useing since 1948 this office start exsieting so konw
one use our office to contact you before because today is the fest day we
contact you consigning your fund that is with us since but i thank god
that you are now in our office and you will receive your fund from us
today by the god grace so get back to me with the fee to enabl eus start
the transfer with out any delay
1.RECEIVER NAME:........MR Emeka Ajaegbu
2.COUNTRY:.................... .BENIN REPUBLIC.
3.CITY :............................. ..COTONOU.
4.TEST QUESTION:............TO WHOM ?.
SENDER NAMES......................... .
also below is the information you will use to pick up your firs payment. track it with our wbe site and see www.westernunion.com
MTCN : 9261341221
Sender's Name: Joseph Jude
GET BACK TO US THROUGH OUR EMAIL (
email@example.com ) WITH THE PAYMENT
INFORMATION ONCE YOU HAVE MADE THE PAYMENT.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTION OKAY.
WAITING ON YOUR EMAIL ONCE YOU HAVE MADE THE PAYMENT.
HAVE A GOOD DAY.
THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
YOURS IN SERVICE
E.MAIL( firstname.lastname@example.org )
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN