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:
- "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. )
- "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: UBA BANK <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2017 10:44:26 +0100
Subject: Re: I SWEAR TO GOD ALMIGHTY FATHER
United Bank for Africa (UBA
103 Avenue Agboku-Owando
Cotonou Bnin Rep.
Attn: Honorable Beneficiary,
I know it is because of your past expenses that make you not to believe
me but I told you before that I cannot deceive you because my bible says
what shall it profit a man to gain material things and lose your soul,
any way there is Good news now, I raised some money to help you out and
make sure that your payment will be release to you the same day you send
the $59.00 as well.
I borrowed money yesterday after service from my Pastor, then you have
to send the remain balance now only $59.00 but I don't see the reason
you have to keep silent on me,
honestly I am just disappointed at your behaviors before because you
know that I cannot deceive you, Just pay the $59.00 and leave rest for
me watching me if I am telling you lies.
Your payments is already approval today for you to receive it but the
management here says that you must pay $59.00 for the Stamp and
activation charge before you can receive the payment today, please send
the charge through money gram office only immediately, I have assured
you a time without number that this is genuine and legitimate.
I swear If I fail to release your payment after you send the $59.00 as I
promise don't count on me again, I cannot fail you, I promise you, donât
fear as soon as you send the $59.00 today please leave the rest to me
and see if I am lie to you because I cannot use my life swear because of
$59.00, how can I swear against my life because of this small amount? It
is to show you that I am telling you the truth.
So make sure that you try your possible best to look for the money and
Pay it immediately via Money Gram Office with the Payment Information
Receiver Name :::::::: Oscar Oraekie
Country :::::::: Benin Republic
City :::::::: Cotonou
Question :::::::: Who
Answer :::::::: God
Control Number ::::::::
Sender's name ::::::::
I promise you as soon as we hear from you with the payment of $59.00
Today we shall send your Fund the same day you send the $59.00 I swear.
Please don't reject such amount of money $1.4 Million USD which is your
rightful & legal overdue inheritance payment just because of $59.00
Mrs. Mary Marcel,
Foreign Operation Manager