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:
- 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:
- "clearance fee" (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. )
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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 (Yahoo, United Kingdom; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: UNITED NATIONS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013 04:13:20 +1300 (NZDT)
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
Internal Audit,Monitoring,Consulting And Investigations Division
REPLY TO US EMAIL: (email@example.com)
FROM: DR.JAMES MARK,
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES
INTERNAL AUDIT, MONITORING, CONSULTING AND INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION
THIS IS TO INFORM YOU THAT I CAME TO BENIN YESTERDAY FROM NEW YORK, AFTER SERIES OF MEETINGS WITH US PRESIDENT BARRACKS OBAMA, WORLD BANK PRESIDENT ROBERT B. ZOELLICK AND THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON DUE TO NUMEROUS COMPLAINS FROM THE FBI AND OTHER SECURITIES AGENCIES FROM ASIA, EUROPE, OCEANIA, ANTARCTICA,SOUTH AMERICA AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA RESPECTIVELY, AGAINST THE BENIN GOVERNMENT OVER THE RATE OF SCAM/FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES GOING ON IN HER COUNTRY.
I HAVE MET WITH THE BENIN NEWLY INSTALLED PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN DR IYA BONI WHO CLAIMED IGNORANT OF THE EVIL PAPERATED IN HIS COUNTRY BUT PROMISED TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL FUND BENEFICIARIES/ CONTRACTORS RECEIVE THEIR FUNDS IN THEIR ACCOUNTS WITHIN NEXT 48HRS. RIGHT NOW, AS DIRECTED IN THE MEETING, WE HAVE APPROVED A COMPENSATION/PART- PAYMENT OF $1.500.00 TO ALL AFFECTED BENEFICIARIES WHICH YOU ARE AMONG. ACCORDINGLY, WE HAVE WAIVED AWAY ALL YOUR CLEARANCE FEES AND AUTHORIZED THE GOVERNMENT OF BENIN REPUBLIC TO RELEASE THIS APPROVED FUND TO YOU WITHOUT ANY DELAY TODAY. THE ONLY FEE YOU WILL PAY TO CONFIRM YOUR FUND IN YOUR POSSESSION IS YOUR NOTARIZATION FEE TO THE UN IS SUM OF $175 ONLY.
SO BE ADVICE TO CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY YOU GET THIS EMAIL NOW BECAUSE EVERY THING HAS BEEN DONE OKAY AND FOR YOUR INFORMATION ONCE AGAIN NOTE: THAT THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE NIGERIAN / BENIN AFRICAN SCAMS THAT ALL THEY ARE AFTER IS TO RIPE YOU OFF YOUR MONEY AND AT THE END YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE YOUR FUNDS, BUT NOTE THAT THIS IS NO SCAM AND IS DIRECTLY FROM OUR PRESIDENT BARRACKS OBAMA.
ONCE YOU SEND THE MONEY, TRY TO NOTIFY ME WITH THE MTCN FOR EASY PICK UP AND FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION ON THE RELEASE OF YOUR FUNDS,
RECEIVERS NAME:.... MR.INNOCENT EKEMEZIE
COUNTRY: .....BENIN REPUBLIC
AMOUNT: $175.00 ONLY
I HAVE A VERY LIMITED TIME TO STAY IN BENIN HERE SO I WOULD LIKE YOU TO URGENTLY RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE FOR MORE DIRECTIVES. FOR ORAL DISCUSSION,
GENERAL FOR INTERNAL OVERS
UNITED NATIONS UNDER-SECRETARY