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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: " A Miss,Josephine Udokanmadu" <"WWW."@vega.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "A Miss,Josephine Udokanmadu" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2017 10:01:45 +0900 (JST)
Subject: IMMEDIATELY PAYMENT
This is from western Union International Money Transfer office Porto-Novo Benin Republic, The conclusion of the meeting on Wednesday by UNITED NATIONS and IMF OFFICE stated that you will be receiving your approved total sum of $2.7milion USD, under our custody which your first payment of Us$4,500.00 had been transferred, you have to contact Mr. Hugo Z. Fletcher the Western Union Director and ask him to give you the details of the payment once you reconfirmed him your details ASAP.
Note, below information is officially needed for the transfer of your First Payment.
1Your First Name..........
2Your Second Name.........
Information to contact Western Union Department:
Contact Director : Mr. Hugo Z. Fletcher
Contact E-mail (email@example.com
I Look forward to hear from you so i will give you some details to pick up this first payment as well .
Agent Miss,Josephine Udokanmadu
Western Union Head Office Cotonou -Republic of Benin.