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:
- 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. )
- "million us 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)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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 (Yahoo, China; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: FEDERAL HIGHT COURT <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2012 20:13:21 +0800 (CST)
Subject: Attention:we have Good news for you.
FROM HIGH COURT OF BENIN
Attention :we have Good news for you.
We have good news for you regarding to your long awaiting transaction here in Benin Republic. The president of Benin Republic Thomas Boni Yayi gave an order for your unclaimed fund $1.8Million payment file to be submitted to high Court for a review and final release to you.
We have finalize all the process for immediate release of your fund One Million, Eight Hundred Thousand United State Dollars $1.8Million to you without any delay.
Now, you are expected to send us $56 only to enable us issue court official letter of authorization for immediate payment of your fund $1.8Million to any bank account of your choice without any delay.
The only reason we ask you to send this money $56 is because Mr.president Thomas Boni Yayi in his instruction said that nothing should be taken out of your total fund until you receive it in full.
So, you are expected to send us the required money $56 via western union money transfer with this information below:
Receiver's name_____ Mr Chikendu Johnson
Text Question______best colour?
Send the $56 and forward us the payment information and after that you are advise to send your information according to how you want your $1.8Million Us Dollars to be transfer to you.
So we are waiting for your email on firstname.lastname@example.org soon oR Call +22998914872
Chief Collins James Esq