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:
- 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:
- "required 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. )
- "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. )
- "million 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)
- "deadline" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "power of attorney" (with your bank details and a power of attorney form criminals sometimes empty bank accounts)
- "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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Wester Union Money Transfer Service <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Wester Union Money Transfer Service <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:35:58 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Re: MY DEAR BENEFICIARY MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE
MY DEAR BENEFICIARY
I AM SORRY TO TELL YOU IF THIS IS TRUE? I RECEIVED AN EMAIL
FROM MR JAMES WHITE ,HE CALLED US YESTERDAY INFORMING ME THAT YOU ARE
DEAD AND HE SAID THAT I SHOULD SEEK FOR POWER OF ATTORNEY
FROM MINISTRY OF FINANCE TO CHANGE YOUR FILE NAME FROM YOUR
PAYMENT FILE TO HIS NAME AND TRANSFER YOUR $6.2MILLION
DOLLARS TO HIM, BECAUSE HE IS YOUR NEXT OF KIN BENEFICIARY
TO YOU, AND HE ALSO TOLD ME THAT YOU INSTRUCTED HIM TO CLAIM
YOUR PROPERTIES INCLUDING YOUR FUND BECAUSE YOU ARE NO MORE
TO BE FOUND ON EARTH.
I AM VERY SORRY TO HEAR THAT YOU ARE NO MORE TO BE FOUND ON
EARTH AND I DONT KNOW IF THIS IS THE REASON WHY YOU HAVE NOT
REPLY THE EMAIL I SENT TO YOU SINCE,THIS IS MY PROMISE TO
YOU THAT I AM GOING TO DO EVERYTHING WITHIN MY POWER TO MAKE
SURE THAT YOUR FUND IS BE TRANSFER TO HIM AS YOUR NEXT OF
KIN BENEFICIAL TO YOU MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE
AND MAY GOD GRANT YOU INTERNAL LIFE ON THE LAST DAY TO COME
I AM VERY VERY SORRY IF THIS IS TRUE.
HE DID SAID HE KNEW HE WAS GOING TO SEND SOME MONEY FOR THE
TRANSFER TO GET YOUR FUND TO HIM BECAUSE YOU TOLD HIM
SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND I SHOULD LET HIM KNOW THE COST WHICH
IS $68.00USD ONLY FOR ORIGIN CERTIFICATE,
BUT I TOLD HIM TO HOLD ON AND LET ME VERIFY IF THIS IS TRUE
OR NOT BECAUSE I AM CONFUSED NOW ABOUT THIS CLAIMS YOU ARE
ADVICE TO REPLY BACK TO US WITH THE FEE, IF THIS IS NOT TRUE
BUT IF IT IS TRUE THAT YOU ARE DEAD STILL NO WHERE TO BE
FOUND ON EARTH MEANS WE WILL NOT HEAR FROM YOU , THEN WE ARE
GOING TO KEEP ON WAITING FOR YOU TILL TOMORROW THEN FAIL TO
HEAR FROM YOU THEN WE WILL CHANGE YOUR PAYMENT FILE TO HIS
NAME TO TRANSFER YOUR FUND TO HIM AS YOUR
SO IF YOU STILL ALIVE THEN FEEL FREE TO GO AHEAD AND SEND
THE REQUIRED FEE $68.00USD US DOLLARS FOR THE TRANSFER
CHARGE TODAY SO THAT BY TOMORROW,WE WILL TRANSFER YOUR FUND
TO YOU AS AGREED,BELOW HERE ARE THE INFORMATION TO SEND THE
$68.00USD THROUGH WESTERN UNION,
The agreement made it mandatory that you will pay $68.00USD
only for the Transfer Charges fee to enable us automate the
information's on the transfer script text for your fund to
be made available to you. You are advice to send the sum of
$68.00USD only via Western Union Money Transfer with the
below stated details to make it faster and easier;
Receiver Name: Daniel Ikechukwu
COUNTRY: BENIN REPUBLIC.
TEST QUESTION: URGENT?.
MTCN NUMBER. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
When you make the Payment, send the payment information to
this Office. upon confirm the fee from you today, The
Complete Information will be release to you , note that we
have a specific time to transfer your funds and you have to
know that this is the final stage and the most important and
fragile stage of this transaction. The official deadline is
due to expire with the application law. So you have to act
fast to avoid any further delays that may be detrimental to
the whole process.
I will be waiting for your positive response with the
payment information's. Any delay from your side regarding
this payment exercise will be resolved for the next quarter
payment that will be coming . So you are advised to add here
to our instructions so as to enable us serve you better.
Hon, Mark J. Desmond,