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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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 of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Hon. Mrs. Elena Frame" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Hon. Mrs. Elena Frame" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:18:15 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: ATTENTION DEAR::
Â Good day to you dear beneficiary.
I am here to inform you that your Fund (Us$1.7 Million Dollars) has been released by the Ministry of Finance Republic of Benin after the meeting held in the United State of America with the United State Treasury Department and West Africa Union to release all Funds belonging to America and European citizen's, as well as other Africa country's which have been trapped by those banks in West Africa, we noticed that these departments are demanding illegal requirement's to make it impossible for beneficiary's to claim their Winning , Compensation and Inheritance Funds.
The IMF concluded to release your fund of $1.7 million usd through the service of Western Union Money Transfer, All you have to do now is to contact Western Union Director Benin Republic, Mr. Bill Martins and ask him what you need to do to enable them activate your account file so that you can be able to start receiving your Western Union Payment of (Us$5,000) daily according to Western Union daily transfer limit. Note: All you have to do is to follow the Western Union transfer procedure as they have concluded with the United State Treasury Department to release your Fund through Western Union legal transfer procedure. Contact Western Union Director on their information bellow;
Contact person: Mr. Bill Martins
Western Union Director.
Address: No 101/22 Ecowas Avenue,
Apkapka Express Road Cotonou,
Reconfirm your personal information to him, and ask him what you have to do so that you can start receiving your payment of (Us$1.7 Million Dollars) without any delay or call him on the above provided phone number, Thanks.
Mrs. Elena Frame
SPEAKER IMF BENIN REPUBLIC.