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:
- 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:
- "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. )
- "registration fee" (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. )
- "the 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)
- "trunk box" (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)
- "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)
- "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.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: Ambassador Michael Arthur Raynor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Ambassador Michael Arthur Raynor <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2017 02:00:02 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Attention Fund Owner!
U.S. AMBASSADOR TO BENIN REPUBLIC
OFFICE THE U.S AMBASSADOR TO BENIN REPUBLIC
NO.2, ROUTE DE L'AEROPORT, COTONOU, BENIN;
Telephone: +229 94 89 52 61
Attention Fund Owner!
I shall be coming to your country for an official meeting on 10/December/2017
and i shall be bringing your Fund of $17.5M along with me
but this time i will not go through Custom because as an Ambassador to Republic
Du Benin, I am a US GOVERNMENT AGENT and i have the veto power to go through
As soon as i am through with my meeting i shall then proceed to your registered
house address with your Consignment Fund. Without missing words, I am convinced
100% that you have had bitter experience with various 'scam claiming to be high
government officials and thereby defrauding you of your 'hard-earned money'.
The activities of these scam has changed your perspective about conducting
business on the internet, and you now believed there is no genuine business
that can be conducted on the internet. Well, I am an American and the internet
was created by Americans for the purpose of creating awareness for your
products/services and conducting genuine business with ease.
I am fully committed to deliver the "diplomatic consignment" to you at your
door step within 48hours in order to differentiate myself from the many Benin
Republic, Nigeria and other government officials you have dealt with.
I am a full citizen of the United States, but I was on a Foreign Mission here
in Benin as a US Ambassador. Hence, I am making every effort to ensure that no
citizen of the United States and other part of the world is cheated by Benin
Republic. Therefore, I need your utmost support and understanding to actualize
this dream. I also want you to understand that I do trust you and I expect you
to show me the same trust and respect in return since trust is a 2-way street.
On the other hand, trust is a relationship of reliance. Trust also means being
able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur. Trust
is both an emotional and logical act. Emotionally, it is where you expose your
vulnerabilities to people, but believing they will not take advantage of your
openness. Logically, it is where you have assessed the probabilities of gain
and loss, calculating expected utility based on hard performance data,and
concluded that the person in question will behave in a predictable manner.
In practice, trust is a bit of both. I trust you because I have experienced
your trustworthiness by merely believing in what I have said, even when you
have not seen me, and because I have faith in human nature. Frankly speaking, I
understand that anyone in your shoes will feel betrayed, but I still want you
to show me your trust by giving me the benefit of doubt on this delivery
arrangement. My identity and personality is verifiable, and I promise to
deliver the consignment to you safely without any hitch. Please do not allow
this mission to die off because the registration fee of your Consignment Trunk
Box which is $397 US Dollars, I meant so well for you and I believe you will
appreciate me more when you have finally received your partial payment of
$17,500.000.00 US Dollars upon my arrival with the package at your nominated
I will use my position and personality to deposit the $17,500.000.00 USD into
your bank account without questioning from the financial monitoring
authorities, since all documentations proving the legitimacy of the funds has
been processed. Please don't see me as one of the numerous dubious Benin
republic you have dealt with in the past. I am a different person entirely and
I come from a different continent. I have the American spirit in me and I hate
cheaters. I promise to always uphold the national unity of the United State.
Please reply back ASAP and let me know your possibility of sending the $397US
You can send it via Money Gram with below information, please copy the name
correctly outline below to avoid mistake.
Account Officer Info: Money Gram Money transfer only.
Receiver's Name:......IGNA HAIGBO
Country:....... Benin Republic
Amount:.......$397 US Dollars
Reference. . . .
Sender's Name. . .
Sender's Address. . .
Sender's Telephone number:......
As soon as you send the fee make sure you send the payment information. My
Flight is 10/December/2017 and i expect you to comply before time
then so that the delivery will be completed. If you do not comply, then it will
not be my fault if you do not receive your Package.
I hope you will understand and follow my instruction to enable me serve you
Feel free to call me for more details: +229 94 89 52 61
Ambassador Michael Arthur Raynor
US AMBASSADOR TO REPUBLIC DU BENIN
Telephone: +229 94 89 52 61