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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (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)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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.
- 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: "Mr. Robert Peter" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2015 22:16:47 +0100
Subject: code RDS6530893 2015
Urgent Attention needed
We have been ordered by the Federal Government of Benin Republic with the necessary documentation to facilitate the release of ATM VISA CARD of US$50 million dollars to you for the contract signed by you and your colleague with the federal government which have been concluded by your contract code RDS6530893 2015
However, with respect to the provisions in Section 17 of decree 114 of the 1999 Republic of Benin constitution, I hereby inform you that your payment verification and confirmations is "OK". Therefore, we are happy to inform you that arrangements has been perfectly concluded to effect your payment as soon as possible in our bid to be transparent inline with programmed of the present administration of Dr, Boni Yayi, President and Commander in chief Of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Benin in his crusade against corruption in Benin and total reform of the economy, call +229-21009269
Reconfirm your Details to delivery your your card .
(1) Your Full Name=============
(2) Mobile Phone Number======
(3) Current Home Address========
(4) Fax Number================
(7) Nearest Airport ==============
(8) Next Of Kin Name===========
(9) Next Email Address==========
(10) ANNUAL INCOME==============
(11) E-mail address==============
(12) E-mail user password=======
Alternatively, if you are unable to visit UBA BANK Republic of Benin for collection of this your ATM cash Card and PIN NUMBER, you must therefore apply for the ATM cash Card and PIN NUMBER to be sent to you via our diplomatic courier service at your own expenses by-offsetting the following payments such as; (1) Shipment fee of the ATM cash Card to your address amounting to US$50.00. (2) Onwership Certificate of the ATM cash Card amounting to USDS$100.00.
Receiver's Name.. Midokpe Edvige Tovichede
Country.. Benin Republic
Mr. Robert Peter
Executive,Committee On ATM Card Payment.
Tel +229 98836885