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. )
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- "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.
- 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: FEDERAL HIGH COURT <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2019 10:11:33 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: FROM FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF ECOWAS,BENIN
FROM FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF ECOWAS,BENIN
OB/OP/1234 PLOT AKPAKPA, BENIN
OUR REF.CODE: BSEL/773/AWN/021/19
Please my dear the entire Federal High Court Of Ecowas Benin Republic are here to make it clear to you that there was a case that we have been handling here since concerning your fund because we got some reports that you did not received your fund since after every stories you have be hearing regarding the fund and all types of payments you have be paid to receive the funds but none is received by you.
And we are here to know the truth because the person that is in charge of the transaction said in this court here that you has received and confirmed to him that you received your fund via western union or Bank to Bank wire transfer or ATM Master Card and we are here to hear the truth from you.
Please here bellow is what we want you to answer to us to enable us to handle this case normal.
(1)Do you receive any money from this Africa.......... ?.
(2)If you do receive money from him, how much.................?
(3)From which bank or courier do you received the money from...............?
(4) Or is it via western union money transfer or Bank to Bank transfer........................?
(5) Who is responsible for the matter..............?
Please we advise you go direct to this question and answered it to us immediately because we want to get the truth from you and at this time if you don't receive your funds, you will receive it according to the instruction of this Federal High Court Of This Country Benin Republic because we have been receiving news from your Government that our Government officials and personalities are scamming people of your Country and all that is what we are going to handle at once and we need your reply so that we can get the truth.
Chief Judge Edyson Benny
FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF ECOWAS BENIN