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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "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)
- "we advice you" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier company" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. MRS.JENET DIBORI" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2017 13:34:12 -0400
Subject: GET BACK TO ME IMMEDIATELY YOU READ THIS MAIL!!!
GET BACK TO ME IMMEDIATELY YOU READ THIS MAIL!!! Value Attention. I am writ=
ing this letter in confidence believing that this mail finds you in an exce=
llent condition of health in regards of the receipt of your mail .I am MRS.=
JENET DIBORI resumed duty recently as policy harmonization chairman on pub=
lic debt a committee set up by United State Embassy Office Benin Republic (=
U.S.E.B.R under the able presidency . My office monitors and controls the a=
ffairs of all banks and financial institutions here in West African that is=
to tell you that I am committed to upholding and defending the constitutio=
n and laws of West African Monitoring Institution as well as achieving a hi=
gher level of public safety and security through the prosecution of crimina=
ls in the state. The purpose of the committee among other is to investigate=
, verify and settle all outstanding total pending payment owned and Records=
before me have revealed that your ATM CARD has not been effected as a resu=
lt of official negligence as your fund has been identified either as ghost =
file, unclaimed deposits, and over-invoiced sum etc; this is due to many ab=
normalities had happened in the institutions where some top official of the=
apex Banks are interested in your ATM CARD and they collaborate with impos=
tors who are carrying a fake portfolios with levies misled and misguided ab=
out the position of your fund and having the opportunity to extort money fr=
om people that made it too longer up till date that explains why you receiv=
e different kinds of untrue emails and phone call from different people eve=
ryday. Be inform that we have concluded all the necessary arrangement towar=
ds the release of your ATM CARD but due to the prevailing situation worldwi=
de on cash movement and transfer of YOUR ATM CARD, your ATM CARD has since =
being deposited with our ( United State Embassy Office Benin Republic ) (U.=
S.E.B.R OF AMERICA) .Base on the information we received from our Transfer =
office today, as the truthfully beneficiary of this ATM CARD. You are respo=
nsible to pay the $258usd for the obtain in of the EU REMITTANCE CERTIFICAT=
E of your fund as the authorities demand which we described as selective AT=
M CARD to enable the programming of the information in the micro chip compa=
rtment which will comply with E.MS COMPANY in America to enable us effect t=
he transfer of your ATM CARD exactly on the particular date or period (7 ho=
urs) so we advice you to send the money across to enable us finalise this D=
elivery today .Your ATM CARD shall be Delivery as soon as this charges is b=
een paid through our accountant officer RECEIVER NAME: your total sum as lo=
ng as you send the $258 for the SECURING EU REMITTANCE of the information t=
he consequences of not adhering to this warning would be yours. Considering=
the circumstances at hand, you are advice not to accept any E-mail telepho=
ne calls that does not come from this office in regards to your ANENE ATM C=
ARD this is to forestall new effort towards a diversion of your ATM CARD to=
day . Accept our congratulations in advance. Here is the full information's=
where you will send the fee RECOVERS;NAME:Happy Obi COUNTRY: BENIN REPUBLI=
C CITY COTONOU TEXT QUESTION: WHEN? TEXT ANSWER: TODAY AMOUNT: $258 MTCN. .=
. . . . . . . . . . . ? SENDER NAME. . . . . . . . . ? Once you send the m=
oney, try to notify us with the MTCN# AND THE SENDER'S NAME for easy pick u=
p and for immediate action on the release of your ATM Please treat this as =
matter of urgency. Note that any uncliam consignment will be return to the =
Courier Company after 3 days for final diversion. So you are urgently advis=
e to comply with our demand so that your ATM will be among those that will =
be deliver this week. Yours In Service, firstname.lastname@example.org MRS. JEN=