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. )
- 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: "Mr. Rodel Michael rgrosales" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2021 12:12:55 +0100
Subject: FROM INTERPOL 22.214.171.124
This is the fraud investigating international police (INTERPOL LONDON),attached
to the United Nations Office In Benin.In conjunction with the FBI,CIA,EFCC ,ICPC
and SIB NIGERIA and other Internet crime fighting agencies around the world.
Please be informed that we have just arrested the people who defrauded you
through online winnings,inheritance transfer and contract payments. We
scrutinized their data through the Western Union database here in Benin and was
able to apprehend some of them. We have frozen their asset and hence handover to
the court for prosecution.
According to the Benin Supreme Court Requisition Order, we were authorized to
refund back 99% of their seized assets to you as part of the compensation to
victims of fraud.
To administer the process, the 99% refund is totaling at ($5.8 million USD) and
it shall be paid back to you through our Authorized payment bank.All you need to do is, forward your full Name and Address and Telephone Number to us.
We will activate your payment and instruct partner Bank to effect the payment
to you. You're advice to halt any further communication with anyone promising
you any fund from anywhere as further investigation is still in progress.
Mr. Rodel Michael rgrosales
Interpol Special Agent
Call or Text: +1 202 695 7720