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:
- "required fee " (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. )
- "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)
- "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: "Financial Minister" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2012 18:45:49 -0700
Subject: WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
FROM DESK OF MINISTER OF. FREDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
FOREIGN CONTRACTOR PAYMENT OFFICE.
The Board of federal ministry of finance benin republic. are here to notify you of your payment inherited funds of ($2.500.00M)U.S.D dollars . after the meeting held on 15th of July 2012. His Exelence the PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN DR YAYEE BONI. has Instructed this Department to send your funds through western union money transfer for easier receive of your inherinted funds without any further delay. to avoid paying money to the fraud stars that is going on through the global.
You are required to send your name and address were you want your fund to be send through western union the maximium amount you will be receiving each day starting from tomorrow is the sum of $5000.00. also your are required to send us the sum of $115.00 dollar for Re-newing and recofirming file that was deposited in this office with your name and address bellow .
Contact Mr MR AkADI JIME with this informations below:
CONTACT PERSON: MR AkADI JIME
As soon the required fee of $115 .00 is send today for the renewing reconfirming the payment file of your funds you will start receiving your funds as from tomorrow.
Send the $115 dollar through western union with the name and address below:
Receiver name -------MR AkADI JIME
We await to receive the western union payment informations today. Please if you a are not the real beneficiary dont repond or delite
Yours in service
Federal republic of Benin