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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "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. )
- "transfer of your funds" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Willie J. " <"mg."@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2017 05:19:11 +0900 (JST)
Subject: DEAR SIR/MADAM
OFFICE COTONOU-BENIN REPUBLIC.
(PAYMENT RELEASE DEPARTMENT)
144 BOULEVARD 122 CIRCULLAIRE BENIN
WERE MONITORING EVERY TRANSFER SENDING OUT THIS COUNTRY THROUGH OUR GLOBAL NETWORK SYSTEM AND WERE SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCES AND ALSO THE DELAY WHICH WE MIGHT CAUSE TOWARDS THE TRANSFER OF YOUR FUNDS WITH MONEY GRAM BENIN REPUBLIC,
YOUR FIRST PAYMENT MR.WILLIAM EDWARD RESENT TO YOU THIS MORNING WAS CANCEL BY US. THE IMF AUTHORITY FINANCIAL SUPERVISION
TEAM.THIS AGENCY HAS BEEN APPOINTED TO SECRETLY MONITORING THE MOVEMENT OF EVERY TRANSACTION IN THIS COUNTRY BENIN REPUBLIC.
WE HAVE CANCELED THE $8,000 MR. JANIS TILLERY SENT TO YOU THIS MORNING BECAUSE YOU DID NOT HAVE THE AUTHORIZATION CLEARANCE
RELEASE ORDER WHICH WILL ENABLE YOU TO BE PICKING YOUR PAYMENTS FROM ANY MONEY GRAM IN YOUR CITY.
WE ARE THE ONLY AGENCY EMPOWERED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF BENIN REPUBLIC TO ISSUE THE AUTHORIZATION CLEARANCE RELEASE
ORDER FOR THE RELEASE OF EVERY MONEY SEND OUT FROM THIS COUNTRY, THE AUTHORIZATION CLEARANCE RELEASE ORDER WILL COST YOU $155
USD AND AS SOON AS YOU SEND THE $155 TO US, WE YOU WILL BE PICKING UP YOUR PAYMENTS FROM MONEY GRAM IN YOUR CITY WITHOUT US
CANCELLATION YOUR PAYMENTS AGAIN.THEREFORE, WE ADVISE YOU FOR YOUR OWN GOOD TO SEND THE $155 DOLLARS TO ENABLE US ISSUE THE
AUTHORIZATION CLEARANCE RELEASE ORDER FOR YOU IMMEDIATELY.
SEND THE $110 USD TO THE NAME OF OUR CASHIER PAUL NKACHA THROUGH MONEY GRAM MONEY TRANSFER,
RECEIVER NAME.........PAUL NKACHA
MAKE SURE YOU SEND THE $110 USD AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO THAT YOU WILL PICK UP YOUR FIRST PAYMENT TODAY.
YOURS IN SERVICE,
CHAIRMAN OF INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND BENIN REPUBLIC
DR. WILLIE J. MCLEOD,