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:
- "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. )
- "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. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: MR JOHNSON DENNIS <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2014 11:30:41 -0700
Subject: ATTENTION, HAPPY NEW MONTH I AWAIT YOUR UNGENT RESPOND,
*ATTENTION, HAPPY NEW MONTH I AWAIT YOUR UNGENT RESPOND, *
*GOOD MORNING TO YOU COMPLIMENT OF THE DAY TOGETHER WITH YOUR FAMILY,*
*THIS IS TO CONFIRM THE RECEIPT OF ORDER FROM THE FEDERAL MINISTER*
*FUND COMMITTEE DATED 30 / 6/ 2014.*
*IT IS MY GREAT PLEASURE AND HONOUR TO INFORM YOU THAT WE RECEIVED*
*EXPRESS MANDATE AND INSTRUCTIONS FROM MR.PRESIDENT, DR THOMAS YAYI*
*BONI (GCFR) FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN TOGETHER WITH THE FEDERAL*
*MINISTER ADMINISTRATOR TRUST FUND COMMITTEE TO COMMENCE THE IMMEDIATE*
*RELEASE OF YOUR FUNDS THROUGH THIS MEDIUM OF ATM CARD FOR EARSY*
*CONFIRMATION AND YOU SHOULD BE INFORMED THAT THROUGH THIS MEDIUM OF*
*ATM CARD THAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO BE RECEIVING $25000.00 USD ONLY PER*
*DAY UNTIL YOUR TOTAL $2.8MILLON FUNDS IS COMPLETELY TRANSFERRED TO*
*HOWEVER; THE MANAGEMENT OF THIS ATM CARD WISHS TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR*
*FIRST INSTALMENT PAYMENT SUM OF ($25000 USD) HAS BEING SENT IN YOUR*
*ADDRESS THIS MORNING BUT THE PAYMENT HAS PLACE ON HOLD BECAUSE YOU DID*
*NOT FULFILLED OUR RULES AND REGULATION UNDER FORIEGIN*
*TRANSACTION,PLEASE CONTACT US WITH THIS ACCORDING TO OUR FORIEGIN*
*TRANSACTION STRATEGY THE TRANSACTION WILL COST YOU SUM OF $60.00 FOR*
*THE SIGNING AND STAMPING FEE OF YOUR PAYMENT FILE, PLESAE CALL ME*
*WITHIN THIS NUMBER +229-98333967 IMMEDIATELY OK*
*1)STAMP FEE $30.00*
*2)SIGN FEE $30.00*
*3)TOTAL SUM OF $60 USD ONLY*
*SO MY DEAR IN YOUR BEST INTEREST, WE HEREBY ADVISED YOU TO USE BELOW*
*INFORMATION AND SEND THE STAMP AND SIGN FEE IMMEDIATELY THROUGH RIA*
*MONEY TRANSFER OR MONEY-GRAM SO THAT WE CAN BE ABLE TO RELEASE THE*
*FIRST $25000.00 USD FOR YOU TODAY BELOW ARE THE RECEIVER DETAILS,*
*Receiver's Name__________LINUS NWEKE*
*Country__________________ Benin Republic*
*BE RE-ASSURED OF THIS CARD INTEGRITY AND PERSONAL INTEGRITY.*
*THANKS, I AWAIT YOUR UNGENT RESPOND,*
*MR JOHNSON DENNIS (firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>)*