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. )
- 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo, United Kingdom; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: mr paul oyewu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2012 20:09:34 +0800 (CST)
Subject: SCAM VICTIM'S COMPENSATION FROM THE IMF BENIN REPUBLIC
ATTENTION; EMAIL ADRESS OWNER,
SCAM VICTIM'S COMPENSATION
FROM THE IMF BENIN REPUBLIC:
The International Monetary Fund(IMF) is compensating all the scam
victims and your email address was found in the scam victim's list. This Western
Union® office has been mandated by the IMF to transfer your compensation to you
via WesternUnion® Money Transfer.
However, we have concluded to
affect your own payment through Western Union® Money Transfer, $5,000 daily
until the total sum of $7.5million,USD is completely transferred to
We can not be able to send the
payment with your email address alone, thereby we need your informations to
where we will be sending the funds to you, such as;
Attached copy of your Identification...
Contact our Customer Care at
with your full
Note that your payment files
will be returned to the IMF within 72 hours if we did not hear from you, this
was the instruction given to us by the IMF.
We will start the transfer as
soon as we received your informations:
Mr Paul Oyewu +229 98 26 69 97
Director Western Union® Money Transfer,
Head Office Benin