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.
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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. )
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: WESTERN UNION <email@example.com>
Reply-To: WESTERN UNION <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:19:57 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: WESTERN UNION AND Finance Ministry
The Board of federal ministry of finance Benin republic. are here to
notify you of your payment inherited funds of $1.5million after the meeting
held on 15th of SEP 2014. His Excellence the PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC
OF BENIN DR YAYI BONI. has Instructed this Department to send your funds
through western union money transfer for easier receive of your
inherited funds without any further delay. to avoid paying money to the
fraud stars that is going on through the global. you are required to send
your name and address were you want your fund to be send through western
union the maximum amount you will be receiving each day starting from
tomorrow is the sum of $5000.00. also your are required to send us the sum
of $95 dollar for renewing and reconfirming your file that was deposited
in this office with your name and address bellow.
Contact with this information below:
CONTACT PERSON: Dr.JOHN APKU
EMAIL: As soon as the required fee of $95 is send today for the renewing and
reconfirming the payment file of your funds you will start receiving your
funds as from tomorrow.Send the $95 dollar through western union with the
name and address below:
Here the information,
Country:........Republic of Benin
We await to receive the western union payment information today.Please if
you are not the real beneficiary don't respond on this,Call Dr.JOHN APKU
on this number +229-98761125 for him to know that you have contacted him
with your information's.
Dr.JOHN APKU (ESQ).
WESTERN UNION AND Finance Ministry
Federal republic of Benin.