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. )
- "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. )
- "consignment " (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)
- 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)
- chowdhury. +229 614 07 643 private email(firstname.lastname@example.org) the new united states ambassador to the republic of (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.MICHAEL RAYNOR CHOWDHURY" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 12:31:09 +0100
Subject: YOUR HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN BENEFICIARY
Mr.MICHAEL RAYNOR CHOWDHURY.
+229 614 07 643
The New United States Ambassador to the Republic of Benin.
YOUR URGENT ATTENTION IS NEEDED:BENEFICIARY,
HOW ARE YOU TODAY WITH YOUR FAMILY ?
I'm Mr.MICHAEL RAYNOR CHOWDHURY From u.s embassy Benin Republic, i
know that this email may look strange to you but i will explain this
the way you will understand it.
I was newly appointed as ambassador to Benin Republic and i wanted to
inform you that i saw your name in one of the files here with some
payment details which you made to receive your fund but i don't know
what happened that old Ambassador Mr James Knight,money gram
director,western union director,U.B.A BANK,federal ministry of justice
and others who left this office did not allowed you to received your
I decided to write you if you may still be interested to receive your
fund through the power of this office and i know that something went
wrong or maybe they requested so much money from you which you are
unable to pay but i will try my best as a new appointed ambassador to
Benin Republic and i will make sure that you receive your fund through
a consignment this time around to avoid any story again.
I was so shocked when i saw your name here and you are very lucky
that he did not clean away your name your email which means that i can
still locate you through your email address and I'm so sorry for
whatever has happened and how much you spent in the past.but be rest
assured that i will never disappoint you like others did and all i
needed from you now is to re-confirm your contact address and your
bank details where you will like to receive your fund and all it will
cost you is $285 us Dollars to renew your Certificate of ownership
with your payment file,and you are paying the $285 us Dollars to the
attorney who will do the work so that i can put my signature to enable
you receive your $4.5m after all the delays.
I will wait to hear from you as soon as you receive this email and I
will give you payment details where you should send the $285 us
Dollars through and please reply to this Private
Mr.MICHAEL RAYNOR CHOWDHURY.
+229 614 07 643
The New United States Ambassador to the Republic of Benin