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. )
- "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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Interpol police Command" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 01:46:19 -0700
Subject: Notice From West Africa Interpol Command
RC-32657, COTONOU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT COMMAND,
Telephone: +229 66762213
Sir/madam this notification email is coming to you from Benin Interpol Command and please immediately you receive this message do let us know by calling because we need to carry on with this imporster's work accordingly,
we are written to let you know that we have three gentlemen arested in the Western Union yesterday names MR, GEORGE OBUKWELI and Mr.Chima Stanley and one of them came from Nigeria and through our investigation we discoverd your email address from them which proof that they have scammed you before, The fact is that one them made us clear that they scammed you about $450 or up to.
Please we don't have much thing with you for now as you can see we are very busy but all we need is for you to send down your home address and your phone number and you count very well how much you have spent under scamer's down here in Africa soo far because first thing tomorrow morning we will lead them to court and from the court they will be charge to jail.
So you do mail us back now with this needed details if you don't know the exactly amount you have spent to Benin and Nigeria under scammer's control then you just tell us that you don't know the amount so that the court will charge the Countries how much they will pay you as your re-Compernsation.please all we need is the truth and if you never spend just make us clear.
We await to have the details from you as soon as you get this mail. On what ever happen to Court we will let you know.you can reach us on this line any time, +229 66762213 but please don't forword this email to any person from Africa to avoid them use it to do their bad work on the name of West Africa Interpol Service please.
COTONOU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT INTERPOL COMMAND
BENIN +229 66762213