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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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. )
- "money transfer control number" (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. )
- "outstanding contractors" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "fund beneficiary" (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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
- +229 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: " Federal Reserve Bank." <"www."@lily.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: " Federal Reserve Bank." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 05:09:20 +0900 (JST)
Subject: From the desk of Mr William C.Dudley
Headquarters: New York, NY, United States of America
Founded: 1914, New York City, New York, United States
ADDRESS: 33 Liberty St New York , NY 10045-0001
From the desk of Mr William C.Dudley
We apologies for the delay of your payment and all the inconveniences we might put you through, while we were having some minor problems with our payment system which in all case not meeting up with fund beneficiary payments, we apologies once again.
From the records of outstanding contractors due for payment with federal Government of U.S.A your name was discovered as next on the list out of the 11 outstanding contractors who have not yet received their payments during the 3 years tenure of the previous administration in office please bear with us for making this initial contact through email. Meanwhile, a woman came to this bank a few days ago with a letter claiming to be your true representative and is willing to pay $125 the wire/transfer charge to have the fund delivered to her. Here is her information$B!G(Bs below.
Name: Mrs.Annette stillman
Bank name: Citibank , Arizona , USA .
Account Number: 6503809008
Routing number: 322271627
Address: 1723 Palmdale Bulv
Please do reconfirm to this bank as a matter of urgency if this woman is from you or not so that the federal government will not beheld responsible for paying into wrong account, if this woman is not your representative, you requested to fill and send this information$B!G(Bs for verification purpose so that your fund valued ($5.700, 000.00 usd) will be remitted in to your nominated bank account.
Kindly reconfirm to the bank the following
1. Bank Name:
2. Bank account number:
3. Route number:
4. Swift code:
5. Bank name:
6. Company name:
9. Working Id/ int$B!G(Bl Passport
11. Your telephone number
Secondly,the only money you pay for the transfer to take place is just $125 being the approval payment certification from the federal government of Benin ,and you are giving a limited time to send the payment and please be advise that you are to send the payment to American Embassy office in Benin Republic and you are to use this information Blow to send the $125 and please be informed that you are not going to pay any other payment to any body and do not be deceived by any body to send any other payment.
RECEIVER NAME: INNOCENT EDWIN
COUNTRY: BENIN REPUBLIC
ZIP CODE: 00229
TEST QUESTION: WHEN
PAYMENT DETAILS TO SEND TO US.
Money transfer control number (MTCN)
As soon as the Payment information is received, your funds will be wired to your bank account directly from Federal Reserve Bank New York USA,We shall proceed to issue all payments details to the said Mrs. Annette Stillman if we do not hear from you within the next three working days from today. We are sorry for any inconvenience the delay in transferring of your fund must have caused you.
You alerted reply urgent
Mr. William C. Dudley
Director Federal Reserve Bank
33 Liberty St New York , NY 10045-0001