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:
- 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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "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. )
- "transfer into your account" (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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Amechi Peter," <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2012 12:06:22 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: FROM THE DESK OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BENIN REPUBLIC.
FROM THE DESK OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BENIN REPUBLIC.
This federal government of Benin is here to notify you that your fundÂ worth of ( $2.5 MILLION USD) which was diverted to Benin government federation account due to your inability to afford the charges of this bank and company, today our president Yayi Boni has given us an order to release all the funds and packages to the owners.
The fund in question was diverted by bank and company located in this country republic of Benin according to them, they said that the fund has officially overstayed the stipulated period of time, in accordance with the provisions and procedures of their service acts and ethics of 2008 provided by the regulatory body in the country and passed into law by the attorney general of the federation.
Â Â Â
The president general commented that all the fund has to be deposited into central bank of Benin Republic so that it will be easy to your bank account to avoid any problem again and the transferring charge / opening fix account that will accumulate the fund for short time has been placed at the minimum amount of us$45.00 so that as beneficiary that you can afford to pay the fee without any complain again.
The president general also reported that hence the beneficiary could not comply with the subsequent of transferring charge / opening fix account that will accumulate the fund for short time that your funds will be cancel led, that is why he fixed the charges at the minimum amount of us$45.00 so that we can now get hold of transferring your funds through central bank of Benin and the central bank will be forced to transfer your funds without any delay. Â
The informationâs of the beneficiary is highly needed for confirmatory purposes and the central bank has to verify if the information details is correct before the funds will be transfer into your account, the information confirm are AS FOLLOW.
A copy of your International Passport/driver license....................
Bank account number...............
YOUR ARE REQUIRED TO SEND THE US$45.00 AND FORWARD YOUR INFORMATION THROUGH THIS
Send the money through Western Union with the information bellow.
Receiverâs Name== Amechi Peter
Country== Benin Republic.
City = Cotonou.
Text Question== When.
So that we can personally go and submit youâre banking information to the central bank of Benin we remain the federal government of Benin republic, we fight against corruption and crimes for humanities.
Yours in service,
Mr. Amechi Peter,
Cotonou, Benin Republic Â
Telephone number +229-99 27 62 22