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:
- "moneygram" (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. )
- "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.
- MoneyGram money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. Along with Western Union it is a 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: "Mr. Johnson Ikenna" <.firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 21:42:29 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Your Payment Through Moneygram!
I am Mr. Johnson Ikenna, I have tried reaching you on mail all this while, but you failed to respond back to me, please be aware that your matter came to my desk which were dated since on the 29-06-2015 (6) months ago, with the total fund of $2.250.000.00. Frankly speaking you are very lucky because you are going to receive your first (8) Ref-control numbers of $12,000 after responding to our mail, all this while your transfer had been stopped because it was under investigation of money laundry by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation and that was the reason your name were among those who were blacklisted, but now we have settled your problem and removed your name from the blacklist, so your fund is ready for transfer to you now.
You will be receiving 8 installment payment of $1,500 each which will bring your daily payment to a total $12,000 everyday until your total payment of $2.250.000 is completed, the only thing we need from you is to obtain the (A.R.O) Authorization Release Order Certificate, which will reflect in any Moneygram Office in your country, stating that you are not involved in any part of money laundry activity, the (A.R.O) Authorization Release Order Certificate will cost you the sum of $69 only. Remember that this is the only charges for you to pay before your (8) Ref-control numbers of $12,000 will be released to you for pick up today.
You are therefore required to get back to me as soon as you receive this message with your current information as requested below;
Phone Numbers(Cell & Home):
I will be waiting to hear from you as soon as possible so that I can direct you on how to send the $69 which you will send through Moneygram.
NB: Call me on the phone as soon as you receive this message with this number +229 66054044.
Mr. Johnson Ikenna
Phone: +229 66054044
UBA Moneygram Head Office Cotonou