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:
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "money gram" (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 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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.
- 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: DANIEL CHUKWU <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2012 17:39:38 +0800 (CST)
Subject: CONTACT MONEY GRAM NOW
This is to inform you that His Excellence the PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN DR. THOMAS YAYI BONI, and The Board of federal ministry of finance Benin republic has Instructed Money Gram Department to send your funds $1.500 000 00 million united state dollars to you through Money Gram money transfer for easier receive of your inherited funds without any further delay, and to avoid paying money to the fraud stars that is going on through the global.
You are required to send your name and address where you want your fund to be send to you through Money Gram, the maximum amount you will be receiving each day starting from tomorrow is the sum of $10,000.00 dollars, also your are required to send them your name and address as it below.
Contact Money Gram office with this information below:
Contact Person: Mr. Eduward Moore
TEL: +229 9323 3507
EMAIL: ( email@example.com )
Mr. Eduward Moore will send your first payment $10.000 dollar to you as soon as you send your contact information to them. Make sure you cantact money gram office today to enable you receive your first $10.000 dollar on tomorrow.