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. )
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united state dollars" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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: "peter charls " <"www."@fuga.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "peter charls " <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2017 05:40:12 +0900 (JST)
Subject: HIGH COURT OF ECOWAS
FROM HIGH COURT OF ECOWAS RB BRANCH:
B/OP/1204 PLOT AKPAKPA,Benin.
OUR REF.CODE: BSEL/773/AWN/021/09
Your Attention Please:
From the entire High Court Of Ecowas Benin Republic are here to make it clear to you that there was a case that was been handling in this ECOWAS since JANUARY 2017 concerning your Inheritance funds, because we got some reports that you did not receive your Inheritance funds since after various stories you heard regarding the funds and all type of payments you have made to receive the funds but none is received by you.
So we are hereby to know the truth because the person in charge of the transaction said in this court that you have received your funds and he confirmed it, that you received your Inheritance funds worth of $7.5Million United state Dollars.
(1)Do you receive any money from Africa............?
(2)If you received money from him, how much.............?
(3)Through which way, bank or courier do you received the money from?
(4) Is it true that you received money through western union .......?
(5) In which date or year......................?
(6)Which authority approve the file .............?
If you have not receive your Funds in any of this officeses measured,this High Court will make sure you receive it within 48hours once you comp-lair with us.
FROM HIGH COURT BENIN
contact:+1 301 539-2655