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. )
- "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 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 (Yahoo, Turkey; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "DR MIKE BELLO" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 03:01:33 +0530 (IST)
Subject: PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS OF USD$980, 000.00 CERTIFIED FUNDS:
WELCOME TO WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC/ADDRESS 455 AGBOKOU,
ANKPAROAD OPPOSITE TUNDE MOTORS COTONOU.
PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS OF USD$980, 000.00 CERTIFIED FUNDS:
This is to notify all our clients about the latest development concerning
the payment of your $980.000.00 USD that are left in our custody. which
yours are inclusive Besides,your where given a bill of sum in order to
receive your Funds of which we didnt hear
from you for sometime now.
Hence, our director general is now offering a Special help to all our
customers that are having their funds in our custody due to because of
price before.in order words we are now requesting that those involve
should pay only sum of $78.00 to receive all their funds abandoned in our
custody. Besides, my dear, this is the opportunity for you and have to
comply and your $980.000.00 shall be transfer to your destination adress.
Note the reason of giving
this offering is because we find out that some beneficary are facing
finacial difficulties over there to raise the needed fees we therefore
decied to offer help to those of you that having difficult situation
before we enter our new projent for the the year , Also note after (one
week) if you did not make the payment of $78:00 then we will divert the
funds to government property to aviod problem or we cancel the transafer,
So this is the oportunity for you to hurry up so that you will meet up
before the date, and remember to reconfirm your full information to avoid
Send the money through Western Union Money Transfer with the information
1. Receiver Name :=====Mr: Ike Alex
2. City/Country:=======Cotonou - Benin Republic.
Forward the payment control number, sender name and address after sending
to enable pick up by the cashier at western union office here. Waiting
I wish you good luck.
Yours in service
DR MIKE BELLO,
WESTERN UNION HEAD OFFICE DEPARTMENT
REPUBLIC OF BENIN.FOREGN CONTRACTOR PAYMENT OFFICE
THIS IS OUR CONDUCT CODE ( 101) Send Money Worldwide