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>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 09:39:45 -0700
Subject: WESTERN UNION TRANSFER
FROM OFFICE OF THE WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER. COTONOU BENIN
REPUBLIC/ADDRESS 455 AGBOKOU,ANKPA ROAD LAGOTES PALAR WEB
This is to notify all our customers about the latest development
concerning all the payment that are left in our custody,which yours
are inclusive Besides you where given a bill of $235,in order to
receive your payment of which we didn't hear from you for some time
Our Western Union is now offering a Special BONUS to help all
our customers that are having their payment in our custody due to of
prices. 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
Besides, my dear, this is the opportunity for you and have to comply
and your funds shall be transfer to your designated address.
But remember that after (3 DAYS) you did not make the payment then we
will divert your funds to 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 to all our customers
before we enter into the new project.
So be advise to send the $95 immediately so that we will register
your payment and for to start receive $5000..00 as from tomorrow.
Be advise that there is no time again for we to call any person on
phone unless you will call +229 984 964 58 the payment of $95 you will
start receiving your money every day $5000.00 through Western Union A
Money Gram $5000 by money gram until the full payment of $1.5m is
completed. So what you will be receiving per day is $5000
Send the money through Western Union Money Transfer with the information below:
RECEIVER NAME:..........PAT OBY
COUNTRY...........Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Text Question.........In God
The moment i receive the payment of $95 i will release the first
payment information of $5000 to you and you will pick up the money and
i will send you another money. Hoping to hear from you.
DR. JOHN BOOMA
TELE +229 984 964 58
FOREIGN OPERATION MANAGER
WESTERN UNION OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC
THIS IS OUR CONDUCT CODE ( 303)
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