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:
- 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. )
- "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 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.
Fraud email example:
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2012 16:18:15 +0800 (CST)
Subject: Attention: Beneficiary,
There is an issue involving $1.5m
Dollar which was called to Our Bank (CAPITAL CITY BANK) from THE FEDERAL
MINISTRY OF FINANCE OF BENIN REPUBLIC concerning your compensation of $1.5000.00
Dollar has been forwarded to WESTERN UNION Agent Office and An instruction has
come directly from Mr. Andrew Jack of Ministry Of Finance.
He asked us
to start sending your fund install mentally $5,000.00 Dollar per a day through
International WESTERN UNION transfer. This type of transfer means, you will be
receiving $5,000.00 Dollar every day through the International WESTERN UNION
money transfer until the total of $1.5m Dollar is completely transferred to you.
As a matter of urgency,to effect your first payment of $5,000.00 Dollar
through WESTERN UNION, Now you have to Contact Mr.John Eze, the director
WESTERN UNION on his contact below as he is the person in charge of your
WESTERN UNION AGENT OFFICE:
Name: Mr.John Eze
contact hime with this
E-mail: ( email@example.com
phone number +229-66080725
Here is the details you needed to forward
to them, in order to help you pick the first payment of your $5,000.00 Dollar.
Reconfirm your address:...
Mr Mark James