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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "the 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)
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Jayson Ahern <"WWW."@opal.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: Jayson Ahern <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2016 05:41:58 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Tell Call line. +1 (208) 301-6896
From: Jayson Ahern
Office of Public Affairs
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Room 3.4A Washington, DC 20229.
Tell Call line. +1 (208) 301-6896
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your affirmation and to inform you of the latest development as regards the delivery of your Bank Cashier Cheque consignment package by the Diplomat Mark Ruben While scanning the package, our cash trace machine detected that the content of the package the Diplomat is delivering to you is bank chequel worth the sum of USD ($24.5 Million USA dollars) and he was stop at Diner International Airport. United state of America because the consignment box lack (Force of nation tag)which we required before he will be able to complete the delivery to your door step
It is very important that all the relevant documentations needed to authenticate the source of the funds are provided to prove that the funds were earned legitimately in accordance with the PATRIOT ACT so that the FBI,IRS and Homeland Security will not come knocking at your door. In lieu of the above,It is therefore mandatory that you provide the (Force of nation tag) of Funds to prove that the funds have no links with any form of illegality.
Being the beneficiary of the package,the (Force of nation tag) is the only way of confirming the source of the funds and it is your responsibility to provide the Certificate before the Diplomat will be allowed to complete the delivery To You Tomorrow. The Diplomat's Flight Details shows that he came from Benin Republic and we have contacted the relevant Authorities in that country to enquirer about the process of getting the (Force of nation tag).
We were informed that the beneficiary of the package will pay for the (Force of nation tag) and the cost of this documentation $385 Dollars, You have to pay this fee directly to them via Money Gram in the name stated below:
1: Receiver Name.....Prosper Jude
2: Country...........Benin Republic
5: Test Question......When
7: sender s Name.....?
8: Reffrence number or Mtcn no..?
Upon the receipt of the payment information,the Certificate will be made out in your name by the Cotonou Republic Du Benin Authority, scanned and send immediately via email to us so that the Diplomat will be allowed to complete the delivery of your package to you tomorrow. Failure to pay for this documentation is a confirmation that you wanted to smuggle the funds into the country which is a federal of fence and a gross violation of the Patriot Act.
It is therefore in your best interest that you pay for the Certificate as instructed immediately as the consequences of refusing is very severe.
A G Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
You call the Management Director of the Courier Service in Benin