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. )
- "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.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. David Samson" <"www."@salsa.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "Mr. David Samson" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2017 04:49:18 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Website:Money Gram
Address: Plot 1261, Adeola Hopewell Street CO/B/REP,
Republic Of Benin.
How are you today?
Sequel to the meeting held today with United States Government,
through Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Government
have warn you to stop further communication/dealing with any banks
that have no website due to fraud going on worldwide. Any banks that
is contacting you without website is scam. Please view our website
The United States Government instructed us to be paying you via
Money Gram to you under installment of Five Thousand Dollars daily
till the amount is completely paid to you, we have transferred your
first installment payment today for your pick-up at any Money Gram
worldwide, but still on-hold due to none Federal Bureau of
Investigation Clean Bill of Transfer Document in your payment file,
which will cost you ($95usd) You are require to pay before your daily
transfer will be made available to you today.
Track your first payment online now using sender$B!G(Bs first name and last
name as directed below:
Sender's name:Clarence Corass
Amount Sent $5,000
Text Question: When
Text Answer: Now
Track your first installment of Five Thousand Dollars daily online
now, You are requiring paying for Federal Bureau of Investigation
Clean Bill of Transfer Document fee to TONY OFOMA. And send copy of
your international passport which you will use to pick up your daily
$5,000.00 in your country.
Receiver's Name: TONY UBAH
Country; BENIN REPUBLIC
Text Question: WHEN?
Text Answer: NOW
Amount: $95Dollars Only.
Our customer care service will call you as soon as possible to enable
you pick up your daily $5,000.00 in your country. As soon as we
receive the MTCN of Federal Bureau of Investigation Clean Bill of
Transfer Document of ($95usd) for security and safety purpose, I have
sent your daily $5,000.00 today and you can pick up the money at any
Money Gram worldwide.
Mr. David Samson
Money Gram Payment Officer
Direct Tel (+229-98284412)