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:
- "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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Marry Washington," <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mrs Marry Washington," <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:16:14 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: I am Mrs Marry Washington,a US citizen,
Â Hello Dear ,
I am Mrs Marry Washington,a US citizen, 61 years Old. I live at 7073balboa Drive, Orlando Florida,though,my family and I will berelocating to our newly acquired home in few days time. I am one ofthose whose funds were pending in Cotonou Benin Republic West Africafor some years. I had paid over US$125,000.00usd for the past yearstrying to get my payment all to no avail. And they always stopped myfunds with one reason or the order.
For this reason, I decided to travel to WASHINGTON D.C with all mydocumentary evidence, And I was directed by the (FBI) Director tocontact Goodluck Cross, who is a rightful Director of Western UnionBenin Republic and a member of FOREIGN DEBTS RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE(FDRC) in Cotonou Benin Republic west Africa, I contacted him and heexplained everything to me. He said whoever is contacting us for fundsare fake, except him, He took me to official western union BeninRepublic for the claim of my payment which was paid to mesuccessfully. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth because Ihave finally received my inheritance fund (US$10.8Million).
Moreover, Mr. Goodluck Cross showed me the list of those that are yetto receive their funds and I saw your name as one of the beneficiariesand one of the Scam Victims, that is why I decided to email you toknow if you have finally received yours, and to advise you to stopdealing with those people you are presently dealing with because theyare not with your funds, they are only making money out of you.
I will advise you to contact Mr. Goodluck Cross immediately. You haveto contact him directly through this information below to know if hecan help you too,that is if you have not received your Claims beforenow:Name: Mr. Goodluck CrossEmail: email@example.comTel. : +229 98254024.
You have to stop dealing with those people that are contacting you andtelling you that your fund is with them, it is not in anyway withthem, they are only taking advantage of you and they will dry you upuntil you have nothing left.
The only Money I paid after I met Mr. Goodluck Cross was just $200.00for your transfer approval form.Take note of that because that wasonly money I paid.Once again stop contacting those people, I willadvise you to contact Mr. Goodluck Cross so that he can help you totransfer your funds to you, instead of dealing with those liars thatwill be turning you around asking for different kind of money tocomplete your transaction.
Remain Blessed,Mrs Marry Washington,firstname.lastname@example.org