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. )
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: MR JOHN RECHARD <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:51:58 -0200 (BRST)
Subject: Contact money gram office for your compensation $885.000USD
I AM HERE TO INFORM YOU CUSTOMER THE NEW ARRANGEMENT CONCERN YOUR COMPENSATION FOR YOUR PASSED AFORT SO IF YOU ARE STILL WILLING TO RECEIVE THIS COMPENSATION $885,000 USD THROUGH THIS MONEY GRAM WIRE TRANSFER TO YOUR ADDRESS BE FAST AND REACH US WITH YOUR RECEIVERS ADDRESS WHERE TO TRANSFER YOU THE FUND FOR YOU TO PICK IT AND ENJOY YOUR SELF WITH THE $885,000USD,
BECAUSE YOUR COMPENSATION FUND WAS APPROVED BY FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF BENIN YESTERDAY BEING 18TH OF DEC,/2014 AND WE WANT EACH AN ALL OUR CUSTOMER TO RECEIVE THIS COMPENSATION FUND AND JOIN US FOR THE HAPPY END OF THE YEAR AND EXMAS WHOMEVER ALIFE ,THE MONEY GRAM OFFICE WILL COMENCE IMMEDIATELY THE NEEDFUL IS DONE FOR THE URGENT TRANSFER YOUR PAYMENT AND FORWARD YOUR REFERENCE NUMBER FOR YOU TO PICK IT UP TODAY WITHOUT ANY DELAY,
THEREFORE CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY WITH YOUR INFORMATION AS YOUR FUND HAS BEEN PROGRAMMED ONLINE ENABLE US START TRANSFER THE FUND AND THE AMOUNT YOU WILL BE RECEIVING EACH TRANSFER $4500 TWO TIMES DAILY TOTAL $9000USD,
DONT MISS YOUR LUCK THIS IS EXMAS PROMO FROM NOW TIL TWENTY TWO DECEMBER YOU WILL CONFIRM YOUR TOTAL FUND COMPLETED SO CONTACT WITH YOUR INFORMATION CONTACT PERSON MR JOHN RECHARD,