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. )
- "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. )
- "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)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: MARIO JOHN NGBADA <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2017 12:29:01 +0200
With respect to the provision Section 17 of decree 114 of the 1999 constitution, I was directed to inform you that your payment verification and confirmations is "OK".
Therefore, we are happy to inform you that arrangements has perfectly concluded to effect your payment as soon as possible in our bid to be transparent inline with programmed of the present administration of Patrice Talon, President and Commander in chief Of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Benin in his crusade against corruption in Benin.
However, it is our pleasure to inform you that ATM Card Number; 5428050011004432 has been approved and upgraded in your favor. Meanwhile, your Secret Pin Number is 6312. The ATM Card Value is $2 5million USD Only. You are advised that a maximum withdrawal value
of US$20,000.00 is permitted daily. And we are duly inter-switched and you can make withdrawal in any location of the ATM Center of your choice/nearest to you. We have also concluded delivery arrangement with our accredited courier service Company to be fully
insured by Nicon Insurance Corporation (NICON) to oversee the delivery of the ATM Card to you without any further delay. In view of this development, you are requested to immediately offset the Courier and transit Insurance charges of $130 via Western Union through the Company given payment instruction as follows:
Receiver Name:......MIKE UBA
Send the MTCN Number to this office for the money to be picked up. Be informed that delivery will be made to your address; within 28 hours of our confirmation of this payment. Be aware that the delivery fee receipt will be attached to your payment delivery documents to avoid being delayed by the customs.Advice this office of your preferred time of visitation to delivery so that we can inform the courier service Company. And be informed that your valid I.D card must be presented to the dispatchers before release will be done to you to avoid wrong delivery, therefore you are directed to present your ID to the Courier on receipt of you package.Treat as very urgent, as we also remind you once again that your ATM Card is ready .
MARIO JOHN NGBADA.