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:
- "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. )
- "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: "DR.JOHN BOOMA" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "DR.JOHN BOOMA" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 19:12:26 +0900 (JST)
Subject: FOREIGN OPERATION MANAGER WESTERN UNION INT'L.
FOREIGN OPERATION MANAGER WESTERN UNION INT'L.
OFFICE BENIN. 205 IDIMU RD COTONOU BENIN.
This is to notify all our customers about the new development concerning all the payment that are left in our custody which yours are inclusive.Besides, your where given a bill of $450 in order to receive your payment of which we didn't hear from you for sometime now.
This January our Western Union is now offering a Special BONUS to help all our customers that are having their payment in our custody due to the prices given to them,In order words we are now requesting that those involve should pay only the sum of $95 to receive all their payment abandoned in our custody.
Besides, my dear, this is the opportunity for you to comply so that your funds should be transferred to your designated address. But remember that after (3DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will divert your funds to FEDERAL Government Fund, to avoid problem or we will cancel the payment for this year until next year because this year is not like last year.
Again after (THREE DAYS ) We will enter A new project for the year and that is the reason why we decided to help all our customers before we enter into the new project. So be advise to send the $95.00 immediately so that we will register your payment and for you to start receiving $5,000 as from tomorrow.
Be advise that there is no time again for US to call any person on phone unless you will Call Number +229 68484046: After the payment of $95.00 you will start receiving your money every day $5,000 through Western Union. Send the money through Money Gram OR Western Union Money Transfer with the information below,
Text Question== Urgent
The moment I receive the payment of $95.00 I will release the first payment information of $5,000 to you and you will pick up the money and I will continue to send it to you every day until your payment of $1.5 million is transferred to you. Hoping to hear from you.
THANKS FOR YOUR PATRONAGE,
HONORABLE MR.JOHN BOOMA
FOREIGN OPERATION MANAGER
WESTERN UNION OFFICE BENIN