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:
- "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. )
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- "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: REV JOE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2013 17:16:41 +0800 (CST)
Subject: GREETING DEAR BENEFICIARY,
WE ARE VERY SORRY FOR ALL THE PROBLEM THAT YOU HAVE PASSED THROUGH
BECAUSE OF THIS YOUR BELONG PAYMENT OF WHICH YOU FAILED TILL NOW, FIRST
OF ALL, I WANT TO INTRODUCE MY SELF TO YOU, MY NAME IS REV JOHNSON
WHITE, I AM THE NEW ELECTED DIRECTOR GENERAL OF WESTERN UNION OFFICE
BENIN REPUBLIC, I HAVE BEEN CHOSEN LAST WEEK. I AM WRITING THIS MAIL
WITH DEEP SORROW, I SAW YOUR NAME ON OUR FILE YESTERDAY THROUGH MY
SEARCHING AS THE ONE OF THE MOST BENEFICIARY WHICH DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR
FUND VALUED $1.800,000.00 USD WHICH SUPPOSES TO BE TRANSFERRING AT THE
RATE OF $4,500.00 PER DAY DURING FORMER MANAGER REGIME.
REASON I AM EMAILING YOU TODAY IS TO INFORM YOU THAT THE FORMER WESTERN
UNION MANAGER HAS BEEN SACKED OUT SINCE LAST WEEK DUE TO HIS ILLEGAL
WORK UNGODLY ACT, I AM HERE TO INFORM YOU THAT THE ONLY THING THAT WILL
LEAD YOU TO RECEIVE YOUR FUND IS BY TRUSTING ME AND FOLLOW MY DIRECTION.
YOU SENT A LOT OF MONEY TO HIM IN ORDER TO GET YOUR FUND WHICH FAILS.
THEREFORE AM TELLING YOU THAT THE REASON YOU DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR FUND
IS BECAUSE YOU DID NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECT WAY TO GET YOUR FUND BUT TO
EXTORTING MONEY FROM YOU IN VARIOUS QUARTERS. DUE TO THE FORMER
MANAGER'S ATTITUDE WE THEREFORE RESOLVE TO SACKED HIM OUT SINCE HE
DIDN'T KEEP OUR INSTRUCTION,
NOW WE HAVE ARRANGED TO PAY YOU BECAUSE ALL OUR INVESTIGATED CONFIRMED
THAT YOU ARE THE RIGHT PERSON TO RECEIVE THIS FUND. NOTE WE HAVE TWO
OPTION OF PAYING YOU, AND YOU ARE THE ONE TO MAKE YOUR CHOICE. OPTION
(1) IS 0UR WESTERN UNION GOLD CARD WHICH YOU WILL WITHDRAW DAILY
$4000.00 OPTION (2) RECEIVE DAILY CASH $4500.00 TILL THE TOTAL PAYMENT
COMPLETED. THERE IS ONE CERTIFICATE CALLED (FUND RELEASE ORDER
CERTIFICATES) WHICH YOU SUPPOSE TO OBTAIN FROM FEDERAL HIGH COURT
SERVICES WHICH WILL NOTICED THAT YOU ARE NOT A BENIN CITIZEN, BUT YOU
DID NOT HAVE IT AND THAT IS ONLY WHAT YOU NEEDED NOW.
TO THE INSTRUCTION PASSED TO THIS WESTERN UNION DEPARTMENT FROM THE
OFFICE OF THE (FEDERAL HIGH COURT SERVICES) THIS WILL DULY GUARANTEE AND
COVER THE MONEY AS BEING LEGITIMATELY ACQUIRED FROM THE BENIN
GOVERNMENT. SO I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOUR FUND OF $1.800,000.00 USD IS
STILL WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ACCOUNT BUT IT WILL RELEASE
IMMEDIATELY TO THIS WESTERN UNION OFFICE AS SOON AS YOU OBTAIN THE (FUND
RELEASE ORDER CERTIFICATES)
TO OUR MESSENGER WHO WENT TO THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF FINANCE SERVICES
OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC FOR THE RELEASE ORDER CERTIFICATES HE TOLD US THAT
IT WILL COST YOU THE SUM OF $109 ONLY FOR THE OBTAIN OF IT, SO HE TOLD
US THAT THEY WILL ISSUE IT WITHIN ONE DAY IF THE FEE WILL BE PAID. SO
RECONFIRM US YOUR FULL ADDRESS WITH THE OPTION EITHER YOU WANT IT GOLD
CARD OR DAILY PAYMENT OF $4500 PER DAY. I WILL BE AWAITING TO HEAR FROM
YOU IMMEDIATELY WITH THE PAYMENT INFORMATION TO OBTAIN THE FUND RELEASE
1. RECEIVER NAME :AUSTIN MMORAH2.
CITY/COUNTRY : BENIN REPUBLIC.3. CITY: COTONOU4. QUESTION : WHAT YEAR?5. ANSWER : 20136. AMOUNT : US$109
AM HERE GIVING YOU GUARANTEE AND ALSO 100 % PERCENT ASSURANCE THAT THIS
IS THE ONLY MONEY YOU WILL PAY AND AFTER YOU PAY IT YOU WILL RECEIVE
YOUR FUND IMMEDIATELY. I WILL BE WAITING RIGHT TO HAVE THE PAYMENT
INFORMATION IN ORDER TO ENABLE US OBTAIN THIS NEEDED CERTIFICATE SOON.
EMAIL ME AT (email@example.com)
JOHNSON WHITE.THE NEW MANAGER OF WESTERN UNIONTELEPHONE NUMBER +229-68451580.