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:
- "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. )
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "inland revenue" (Tax offices mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. Even after you pay their fake tax demands you will still not receive the non-existent funds you have been promised. )
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: AU <email@example.com>
Reply-To: AU <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2014 10:49:52 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CORRECTION TO NOTE IMMEDIATELY.
Â Ministry of finance
lot 1176 boikom, gbegameh
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Attention: THE EMAIL BEARER
This is to inform you that your onhold inheritance,compensation,investment and contract fund from the ECOWAS region has been investigated by the OAU/UN (Organization of African Unity and the united nations) external auditors commission.
They have mandated this office of the ministry of finance Benin republic to immediately notify you of reasons why your fund is onhold and cannot be released to you after so many years and as well expenses to various government and non governmental offices, including impostors of same agencies above and this mail is been sent to you in your best interest.
REASONS WHY YOUR FUND IS ON HOLD:
1) No frican country uses Dollar,Pound or Euro as its main currency which means the transfer of funds in the mentioned currency must have due papers which are obtainable not in the African states but your country of residence.
2) Formal documents required are not obtainable by non residents of the Economic community of west African states and we are aware that you have obtained such documents and you are yet to receive your fund.
3) There is no truth in your claims as the above mentioned offices have investigated your file and found out you have not done anything in this region to warrant such payment and all you are doing is in vain and you are been scammed without the knowledge of the financial authorities.
4) Due to the funds time and funds lost by you the OAU/UN have decided to compensate you with $800,000.00usd (Eight hundred thousand United states dollars) which was agreed to by the representatives of each of the ECOWAS community chairman and the UN in general.
To file in for your payment we will have to make you understand that due to the different currencies of the African states the states have agreed in principle that the Benin republic Inland revenue service will represent the whole state of the OAU.
The commission have decided there will be no payment through direct bank transfers or through Draft cheque but through western union money transfer as all arrangement has been made with the western union head office of the African states in Benin republic, in this regard you are to contact the western union appointed office director with the details below, the phone number email account was opened for the officer by commission is this regard and will be monitored for payments to you.
It has been agreed in special with western union head office Canada that $5000.00usd will be paid out to you twice daily for the next 80 working days.
This is the email and contact information of the officer in-charge:
Name of Officer: Mr. Obum Nku
Tax for development,
Engineer Kekenni Oluwais
Chief file inspection officer
Ministry of finance
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