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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. richard goodman" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Dr. richard goodman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2012 10:27:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: ATTENTION BENEFFICIARY
We want to know if you authorized MR.Gershon shapiro to claim your valid sum of $1.250.000.00 under our custody He has been calling us regarding this issue,but I cannot proceed with him until I confirm this by not hearing from you after
3 days. Be advised that we have made all arrangements for you to receive and confirm
your funds without anymore stress, and without any further delays.
as ordered via IMF /World Bank International promo,to be released to you. If no, kindly contact Dr. richard goodman to give you the mtcn is ready.the only fee required is 50$ for the releasing of your mtcn now. Email..... (email@example.com)
below is the information but you cannot pick it untill you pay the fee. track it now is available for pick up.
MTCN: _______________(MTCN) :# 5820554539
Sender's Name: _________Samson Nwamu
Text Question: __________transfer
Country: _______________Republic of Benin
I will be waiting to hear from you once you send the fee.
Try your best and follow up the western union in instruction by sending $50 USD so that they will give you the information to pick up your first US500,000,00 USD.send them the fee to this information below:
Receiver Name:....Ekwenze Joseph
country:.....Republic of Benin
Dr. richard goodman.
WESTERN UNION OFFICE BENIN