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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "moneygram" (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. )
- "money gram" (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 state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Elizabeth Anthony" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2013 05:04:03 +0100
Subject: Contact Money Gram For Your $4.5 Million USA Dollars.
There is an issue with the Money Gram Money Transfer in the amount of ($4.5MUSD) Four Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars to the beneficiary directed in cash credited to file KT U/926775/03, at the owner of this email address. The International Monetary Fund USA (IMF) contacted us for your Inheritance fund a couple of hours ago due
to your allocated security code. We are unable to complete a transfer directed at an email address, so we require some more information in order to complete this transfer with our money gram department.Here are the informations needed for you to fill out:
1. Full Name:
2. Full Address:
3. Marital Statue:
9. Country of Residence.
In order to resolve this problem, please email via Money Gram Solicitors Fund Verification Department: BANK OF AFRICA MONEY GRAM OPERATION DEPARTMENT. Cotonou P.O.BOX 26954 Benin Republic.
Bellow is their contact-
Contact Person: Mr. Bobby James Money Gram Payment Center,
Email: ( email@example.com )
Tel: +229 99610754
As soon as this information is received, our Money Gram Money Transfer Department will release the first payment of $7,000.00USD (Seven Thousand United State Dollars) Transfer Reference Number to you, complied over the cost of Inheritance file to enable our money gram replace your name on the first payment. Only charge in receiving of this first payment is the cost of obtaining the inheritance file, contact our money gram Mr. Bobby James, he will direct best on how to get the needed Inheritance file.
When emailing, please use the (Reference number 250-33) for our mutual convenience. Remember that once the Inheritance files issue you will start receiving your daily payment per $7,000.00USD till the total ($4.5MUSD) Four Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars transfer to your name.
Mrs. Elizabeth Anthony
(Note: If You Have Received This Email Before You Are Advised To Ignore This Message).