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:
- 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. )
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: private private <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 09:20:25 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Dear Customer
Western union payment center.
wusih zone 6, porto-novo fct.
24 hours banking service.
office email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
and number +229-6117-6503
This is to report to you that our western union bureau have received a correspondence
from the federal high court as cancellation notice for your funds transfer to be deleted
from foreign payment file .
The western union management desires to inform you that your funds transfer with us has
been programmed among the five (5) transactions that would face cancellation soon.
We have waited long time enough for you to fulfill the required obligations and claim the
funds like other beneficiaries that have claimed their funds before NovemberÂ Â ending this
year but nothing comes up from you as indication from the funds owner.
the management of this western union held an urgent meeting in my office today, regards to
the transferring of your funds by western union and they have asked my office to submit all
the paper works and files containing your funds confidentiality but i refused and asked the
board members to give me from now till 2days time so that i consult you personally for you
to declare your interest on the funds transfer.
Further more, you are advised to reply to this email after reading, and feel free to tell
us why you abandoned such huge amount here. let us know if you are no longer interested to
complete your transaction.
Finally, if you still have the interest of being paid your funds by western union money
transfer; you should kindly forward your receiverâs name and address including your phone
I am looking forward to your positive cooperation fairly soon.
Operation Manager Western union Benin Republic