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. )
- "consignment " (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)
- 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: "Mr. JAMES KNIGHT" <WXXXX.@image.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "Mr. JAMES KNIGHT" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2016 23:09:05 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Good News
I AM HON. JAMES KNIGHT, THE UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO BENIN REPUBLIC. I AM WRITING TO LET YOU KNOW THAT I WILL BE VISITING YOUR COUNTRY FOR AN OFFICIAL MEETING ASSIGNMENT AND I WILL LIKE TO COME ALONG WITH YOUR PAYMENT OF (US$7.5 MILLION) THAT WAS LOADED IN AN CONSIGNMENT BOX, BUT YOU KNOW THAT I WILL GO THROUGH CUSTOMS AND HOME LAND SECURITY BUT AS LONG AS I AM A US AMBASSADOR TO BENIN REPUBLIC AND ALSO A UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AGENT. I HAVE THE VETO POWER TO PASS THROUGH CUSTOMS WITH ANY PACKAGE REGISTERED AS AN AMBASSADORIAL ITEMS.
I AM SCHEDULED TO HAVE A BRIEF MEETING WITH THE SECRETARY OF THE STATES THIS WEEK, SO I WILL BE COMING WITH YOUR OVER DUE
PAYMENT WHICH HAVE BEEN DELAYING IN THIS COUNTRY FOR A VERY LONG TIMEBY THE BANKS, WESTERN UNION AND MONEY GRAM OFFICES IN AFRICA .
YOU SHOULD SEND TO ME YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER AND ALSO RECONFIRM TO ME YOUR CURRENT ADDRESS WHERE I SHOULD BRING YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX WHICH CONTAINS YOUR TOTAL SUM OF US$7.5MILLION. YOU HAVE REALLY PAID SO MUCH TO THE WRONG PEOPLE IN OTHER TO RECEIVE YOUR FUNDS WHICH FAILED AS I WAS MADE TO UNDERSTAND AND THAT IS WHY I HAVE PERSONALLY INTERVENED YOU ARE A VERY
LUCKY PERSON BECAUSE I WILL BE BRINGING IT MYSELF AND THERE IS NOTHING ANYONE CAN DO ABOUT IT, BECAUSE ALL THE WELFARE OF THE CITIZENS ARE MY CONCERN. I AM HERE TO PROTECT THE INTEREST OF THE AMERICAN CITIZENS NOT TO BE CHEATED BY THE
AFRICANS. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH OF THIS DELAYING OF YOUR FUNDS HERE IN THIS COUNTRY.
YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX WORTH (US$7.5MILLION) MUST BE REGISTERED AS AN AMBASSADORIAL PACKAGE FOR ME TO DEFEAT ALL ODDS BUT THE COST OF REGISTERING IT IS US$65.00, WHICH IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO BE TAKEN CARE OF,TO HAVE YOUR PACKAGE LEGALLY REGISTERED AND DEPART HERE WITH YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX TO YOUR HOUSE ADDRESS.
YOU SHOULD SEND THE FEE DIRECTLY TO THE REGISTRATION OFFICER WITH THE INFORMATION BELOW:
RECEIVER'S NAME --------FRANK TANSA
TEXT QUESTION -----VERY
ANSWER ------- URGENT
AMOUNT TO SEND-------------($65)ONLY.
MY TRIP TO US COUNTRY WILL BE BY THIS WEEKEND I EXPECT YOU TO COMPLY NOW SO THAT THE DELIVERY CAN BE COMPLETED TO YOUR DOOR
STEP THIS WEEKEND. IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY ON TIME, THEN IT WILL NOT BE MY FAULT IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX. THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO RECEIVE YOUR BOX NOW!. HOWEVER, YOU WILL STOP ANY FURTHER COMMUNICATION YOU
MAY BE HAVING WITH ANY BODY OR OFFICE REGARDING YOUR BOX BECAUSE I WILL BE DELIVERING IT DIRECTLY TO YOUR DOOR STEP MYSELF THIS WEEK AS SOON AS YOU HAVE COMPLIED WITH MY INSTRUCTION.
HON. JAMES KNIGHT.
US AMBASSADOR TO BENIN