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:
- 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:
- "required fee " (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. )
- "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)
- "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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "WESTERN UNION MONEY" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2015 23:03:40 +0200
Subject: Reply immediately
FROM OFFICE OF THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC/ADDRESS 455 AGBOKOU,ANKPA
ROAD OPPOSITE TUNDE MOTORS COTONOU.
TEL: +229 9639 8414
We wish to let you know that the Minister of Finance has ordered that
the only money you will send now to receive your legal payment is just
$135.00 USD only.
Therefore you are directed to send the $135.00 USD required fee today
so that we can start releasing to you, your $5,000.00 USD daily until
your total funds of Five Million Two hundred thousand United States
Dollars ( $5,200,000.00 USD ) is paid to you, but if you fail to
comply by sending this fee within 3 days of this order your total
funds would be confiscated and transferred to government purse, he
said that this is the final order. So We urge you to comply and send
the $135.00 USD immediately after you receive this email today so we
can finalize everything today.
You are to STOP any request asking you to send money to any agency
such as Courier Company, Bank and Security Agency as there are no such
and any money committed there will be regretted, so be wise. The above
arrangement has been signed and endorsed by UNITED NATION (UN),
EUROPEAN UNION (EU) given credence that this transaction is devoid of
any form of illegality.
Note : You are to reconfirm your receiver's name as it is needed to
enable us send your first payment immediately we receive the $135.00
USD so that by tomorrow you will start receiving your $5,000.00 USD
Below are the payment information to send the $135.00 USD in my name:
RECEIVER NAME:......... Mrs. Mary H. Morgan
ADDRESS:...........Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Amount:...............$135.00 USD only
The moment We receive the payment of $135.00 USD we will release the
first payment information's of $5000.00 USD to you, to enable you pick
up the money immediately and we will send you another money.
Hoping to hear from you.
Mrs. Mary H. Morgan
TEL: +229 9639 8414
FOREIGN OPERATION MANAGER
WESTERN UNION OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC
THIS IS OUR CONDUCT CODE ( 305)
Welcome to Western Union Send Money.