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:
- "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. )
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- ",500,000" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Mr. Ban KiMoon" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2013 15:42:13 +0000
Subject: COMPENSATION UNIT, IN AFFILIATION WITH THE UNITED NATIONS
Attn: Sir/ Madam,
Compliment of the Season
In regards to the recent meeting between the United Nations and the
United States Government to restore the dignity and Economy of the
Base on the Agreement with the World Bank Assistance to help and make
world a better place for all with the sole aim of abolishing poverty.
has a meeting on 29th Nov 2012, which was last year.
This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of
world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum
$1, 500, 000, 00, One Million Five Hundred Thousand United States
This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received
contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or
international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc.
Your name and email was in the list submitted by our Monitoring Team
observers and this is why we are contacting you, this has been agreed
and have been signed, so you are advised to contact Mr. Jean Paul
of (UBA) United Bank for Africa, as he is our representative pointed
Director (UBA) United Bank of Africa to paid all people that was failed
into scam victims, contact him immediately for your Compensation
$1,500,000 ( One Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).
Take note that upon contacting the UBA Director Mr. Jean Paul Williams,
your funds will be release direct to you in accordance with legal
and procedures, through bank to bank of Visa Card. Therefore, you
send him your full Name/telephone number/your residential address/and
Occupation,finally,avoid delaying the transaction, there is a pending
charge fee total amount sum of $107,00,( One Hundred and Seven Dollars)
need to send them together with your address,due to your fund access
Use below information for the $107, 00,
Receiver Name ___________Onyi John
Country of Origin________Benin Republic
Test Question___________United Nation
Contact Mr. Jean Paul Williams immediately for your compensation
500, 000, 00:
Contact Person: Mr. Jean Paul Williams
Good luck and kindly regards
Mr. Ban KiMoon
Secretary UNITED NATIONS