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:
- "activation 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. )
- "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. )
- "i am using this medium to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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. JOHN WEST" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Aug 2014 16:02:22 +0200
Subject: FROM MONEY GRAM OFFICE BENIN REPIBLIC THIS IS ONLY OPPORTUNITY YOU
HAVE TO RECEIVED YOUR FUND
Information reaching us from our corporate headquarters here in Porto
- Novo, the capital state of Benin Republic, states that you only have
48hours to effect your payment for the updating of your REFERNCE #
number to enable you cash up your first $5000 from your total fund of
( seven hundred thousand united state dollars) since you are finding
it difficult to make this payment we have decided that you are to go
ahead and pay whatever you have out of the total fee of $500 required
for the updating fee since you are not able to come up with the
required charge. But mind you, no amount below $30 will be accepted so
we expect you to pay whatever amount from $30 and above. You are to
pay what ever you have for the updating fee and we will activate your
REFERNCE # number upon receipt of this payment.
Be informed that you will have to pay the balance fee of your updating
upon cashing up of your first $5000 also I am using this medium to
inform you that failure to pay the balance charge will leave us with
no option but to deactivate your REFERNCE # number of which you will
and can never cash up the balance fee, I want you to send the updating
and activation fee with the information bellow.
Receiver's Name-------- Paul Amaechi
Please any amounts you send let us know but remember what so ever
amount below $30 will not be accepted. You can send us the payment
information's immediately you send the money. Immediately we confirm
the activation fee we will send you the first receipt of your $5000 at
the same day. Regards Mr. JOHN WEST Money Gram Office
transfer office Porto-Novo Benin Republic.
In addition to this, we have decided to compensate our entire client
due to their inability to pay the requested fee from the authorities,
the compensation started this morning been 9th of August and it
will end on 15ft of August May 2014 by reducing the high cost to low amount.
As the matter of fact, the transferring fee and all cost requested
from the authorities has been cut down to any amount as you can afford
and that is only money you have to pay to receive your payment because
the transferring of your funds were approved and signed as well and we
do contacted you today for your immediate attention over it. Note that
anything that has the beginning is also has the end in that case,
first come first serve.
Money gram office you are entitled to receive your payment today if you
do send the money today as well.
We are waiting to hear from you today with the fee to enable this
department to release your payment immediately.
Look forward for your anticipated response.
Mr. JOHN WEST
Tel :( +229)98812427
MONEY GRAM OFFICE BANIN