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:
- "money gram" (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. )
- "mtcn" (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)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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.
- 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: "MRS. INGA-BRITT AHLENIUS" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "MRS. INGA-BRITT AHLENIUS" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2014 22:14:11 +0900 (JST)
Subject: THE UNITED NATIONS FUND MONITORING AGENT
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES,
INTERNAL AUDIT, MONITORING, CONSULTING AND INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION.
I AM MRS. INGA-BRITT AHLENIUS, THE UNITED NATIONS FUND MONITORING AGENT IN CHARGE OF YOUR TOTAL $7.5M PAYMENT FILE.
WE ARE NOW CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF FINDING, RECONCILING AND RELEASING OF ALL DUE PAYMENTS THAT ORIGINATED IN AFRICA (LOTTERY WINNING, CONTRACT PAYMENTS AND INHERITANCE FUNDS) BELONGING TO FOREIGN/LOCAL BENEFICIARIES.
I CAME TO BENIN FROM NEW YORK AFTER SERIES OF MEETINGS WITH THE WORLD BANK PRESIDENT ROBERT B. ZOELLICK AND THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL DUE TO NUMEROUS COMPLAINS FROM THE FBI AND OTHER SECURITY AGENCIES AGAINST THE BENIN GOVERNMENT ON THE RATE OF SCAM/FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES GOING ON IN BENIN.
I HAVE MET WITH THE BENIN CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR WHO CLAIMED IGNORANT OF THE DELAY IN RELEASING FOREIGN BENEFICIARIES FUNDS IN AFRICA BUT PROMISED TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL FUND BENEFICIARIES RECEIVE THEIR FUNDS WITHIN THE NEXT 48HRS. DURING OUR RECONCILIATION REVIEW IN AFRICA , ALL UNPAID LOTTERY WINNING, CONTRACT PAYMENTS AND INHERITANCE PAYMENT FILES BELONGING TO YOU AND OTHER FOREIGN BENEFICIARIES WAS TRACED AND APPROVED SUCCESSFULLY.
YOUR $7.5M PAYMENT WAS AMONG THE APPROVED BENEFICIARIES AND HAVE BEEN PROGRAMMED WITH AN ATM CARD NUMBER: 4988 2414 7616 3496 THROUGH THE BANK OF ENGLAND INTER-SWITCH COMPUTERIZATION DEPARTMENT IN UNITED KINGDOM .
THE ATM CARD IS NOT A CREDIT CARD, IT IS AN AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE CARD (ATM CARD) WHICH WORK IN ALL BANKS WITH DULY INTER-SWITCH AND THE FUNDS CAN THEN BE TRANSFERRED INTO YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT AS SOON AS YOU HAVE THE CARD IF YOU WISH TO. THE UNITED NATIONS UNDER THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE WITH THE WORLD BANK GROUPS AND IMF (INTERNATIONAL MONITORY FUND) HAS ADOPTED THIS ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURE OWNING TO VARIOUS COMPLAINS/PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM BENEFICIARIES DUE TO THE DELAYS IN RECEIVING THEIR INHERITANCE/WINING FUNDS AS EXPECTED, IT WAS ALSO ADOPTED TO REDUCE THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROTOCOLS AS WELL AS FRAUD PERPETRATION.
YOU ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO WITHDRAW USD10,000.00 PER DAY FROM THE ATM CARD ACCOUNT IN ANY ATM MACHINE CENTER OF YOUR CHOICE IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD OR OPTIONAL AS SOON AS YOU GET THE ATM CARD, YOU CAN DEPOSIT THE TOTAL AMOUNT IN THE ATM CARD INTO YOUR BANKING ACCOUNT WITH YOUR PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION OR PASSPORT ID.
IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE REQUIRED TO BEAR THE COST OF YOUR ATM CARD COURIER FEE AS STIPULATED BY THE AUDITORS, THIS IS BECAUSE YOUR $7.5M PROGRAMMED ATM CARD IS LABELED AS A "NON FRAGMENTED BOND" AND IS PROTECTED BY A HARDCOVER BOND POLICY BY THE AUDITORS WHICH MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO DEDUCT THE DELIVERY FEE OF YOUR ATM CARD FROM THE APPROVED $7.5M ATM CARD BEFORE IT HAS BEEN DELIVERED TO YOU.
FURTHERMORE, THE AUDITORS DECLINED REVERSE DELIVERY PAYMENT, (NO MORE C.O.D FOR INTERNATIONAL SHIPMENTS) THAT IF A REVERSE DELIVERY PAYMENT IS MADE AND SOMETHING GOES WRONG, THAT WE/YOU CANNOT SUE THE DELIVERY COMPANY TO RECOVER THE FULL VALUE OF THE FUND AS STIPULATED IN THE ATM CARD SINCE PAYMENT FOR DELIVERY WAS NOT MADE AT POINT OF MAILING, SO FOR THIS REASONS, WE HAD COME TO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE AUDITORS THAT YOU SHALL BE THE ONE TO TAKE THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DELIVERY FEE OF YOUR $7.5M ATM CARD TO YOUR ADDRESS AS REVERSE PAYMENT IS RULED OUT.
YOUR $7.5M ATM CARD WILL ONLY COST YOU THE COST OF DELIVERING YOUR ATM CARD WHICH INVOLVES ONLY $78 (24HRS DELIVERY).
BASED ON THE ABOVE REASONS, WE HAVE CONCLUDED DELIVERY ARRANGEMENT WITH THE ARIK DELIVERY AGENT, IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE DEVELOPMENT; YOU ARE REQUESTED TO IMMEDIATELY PAY THE DELIVERY COST THROUGH THE ARIK AGENT GIVEN PAYMENT INSTRUCTION BELOW:
DELIVERY COST: $78 (24HRS/OVERNIGHT DELIVERY)
URGENTLY SEND THE ABOVE PAYMENT VIA MONEY GRAM AS DIRECTED BELOW, ALSO FORWARD YOUR CORRECT DELIVERY ADDRESS WHERE YOU WANT THE ATM CARD TO BE DELIVERED AS THE UNITED NATIONS WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY MISTAKE IN DELIVERING YOUR $7.5M ATM CARD PAYMENT TO YOU.
I HAVE A VERY LIMITED TIME HERE IN AFRICA , SO I WOULD LIKE YOU TO URGENTLY SEND THE $78 COURIER FEE TODAY SO THAT THE COURIER COMPANY WILL PROCEED ON THE DELIVERY OF YOUR ATM CARD BEFORE I LEAVE AFRICA.IF YOUR DELIVERY FEE IS RECEIVED TODAY, YOUR $7.5M ATM CARD WILL LEAVE TO YOUR DESTINATION FIRST THING TOMORROW MORNING AND WILL GET TO YOU WITHIN 24HRS, THIS MEANS THAT IF YOU SEND THE $78 DELIVERY FEE TODAY, YOU WILL RECEIVE YOUR $7.5M ATM CARD TOMORROW SINCE IT IS AN OVERNIGHT / 24HRS DELIVERY.
HERE IS THE MONEY GRAM PAYMENT INFORMATION TO SEND THE $78 COURIER FEE:
RECEIVER NAME: .....ENEMUO CHINEDU
COUNTRY: .......... COTONOU-BENIN
CITY: ................ COTONOU
TEST ANSWER: ..........IN GOD
AFTER PAYING THE FEE, SEND THE FOLLOWING PAYMENT INFORMATION'S TO ME.
1. SENDER'S NAME AND ADDRESS
2. MTCN NUMBER
3. TEXT QUESTION & ANSWER
I WAIT FOR THE REFERENCE PAYMENT CONFIRMATION OF THE COURIER FEE AND YOUR DELIVERY INFORMATION TO ENABLE YOUR ATM CARD DELIVERY PROCEED IMMEDIATELY.
MRS. INGA-BRITT AHLENIUS,
UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT.