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. )
- "the 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)
- "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 states 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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR TONY DAVIS" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2012 00:56:38 -0700
Subject: GOOD NEWS ABOUT YOUR PAYMENT
Plot 8,Ahmed Way,
Victoria Island,Cotoun Benin.
Customers Service Hours--Monday To Saturday:
Office Hours Monday To Saturday:
It is my ultimate pleasure to inform you about latest meeting held last week by new ECOWAS chairman, minister of finance and senates committee on unclaimed
foreign fund matters. They have resolved to send your $12.5millions as a consignment box because it will take much time to transfer a $12.500, 000.00 through
western union as it was scheduled earlier to pay you $5,000 on daily basis. It came to our notice that International Monetary Fund (IMF) did not abide the plan of transferring the payment via western union. So be informed that your long awaited funds valued $12.500, 000.00 (Twelve million five hundred thousand united states dollars) was well packaged into a consignment box to deliver to your house. The consignment was successful registered with United Parcel Service Agent (Fedex) and we have solemn agreement with him that it will be delivered to you within two working days without opening the package.
The details of your package are below and remember to identify it with registration code Fedexa25s8Z12. The last four digit of tracking number is on hold until you pay security fee to enable security men release your package for shipment.
Registration code Description: Fedexa25s8Z12.
Number of Packages 1
UPS Service: Air Cargo Accompanied by Diplomat
UPS Return Service: UPS Returns, Print Return Label
Tracking Number: 1Z638E5690**** (Note that the last four digit number is on hold until you send them security fee.
Contact person is Mr. Tony Davis, email (email@example.com)
Meanwhile both diplomat and Fedex Company did not know the original content of the consignment; I registered it as personal belonging which you will use to celebrate your fort coming birthday. So reconfirm your delivery address to Fedex dispatching manager who is in charge of this registered box, he is waiting for you to reconfirm your information like your name,
personal id card if any_________
& Your direct Telephone Numbers___________
We have paid the delivery fee and insurance, the only money you will send to them is $185 dollars for security guard. Also confirm to them your nearest international airport to locate you immediately the diplomat arrives. Our agreement with this company is that they must deliver this package within four days of this depositing date, so contact them immediately you receive this email.Contact Fedex dispatching manager Mr.Tony Davis at (firstname.lastname@example.org)Ask him when the diplomat will arrive to your country with your package.
Here is the information you will use to send the fee to them today,
NAME ------------- MR.INNOCENT OBELUO
COUNTRTY -------------BENIN REPUBLIC
TEXT QUESTION ----- NOW
TEXT ANSWER ------- NOW
Thanks for your Co-operation.
Mr. Tony Davis.
For the Ikeja Branch Manager FedEx Express Services