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. )
- "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. )
- "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)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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 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.
- +229 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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: "DIPLOMAT MARK" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 07 Dec 2020 13:51:18 -0800
Subject: CALL OR TEXT ME URGENT (720) 378-7987
Attn: TO You,
NOTE: If you received this message in your SPAM/BULK folder, it is because of the restrictions imposed by your Mail/Internet Service Provider, we urge you to treat it genuinely.
Iâm Diplomat Mark Wilfred I have been trying to reach you about an hour now just to inform you about my successful arrived Dallas/Fort Worth International airport Texas with your two Boxes of Consignment Box worth $9.5M Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars which I have been instructed by ECOWAS to be delivered to you. The Airport authority demanded for all the legal back up papers to prove to them that the fund is no way related with drug money, I have presented the papers I handed to them and they are very much pleased with the paper's I presented but the only thing that is still keeping me here is the Yellow Tag which is not placed on the boxes, one of the Airport Authority has advise that we get the yellow tag so that I can exit the airport immediately and make my delivery successful. I try to reason with them and they stated the yellow tag will cost us just $100 Dollars only to get the two tag placed on the boxes as that tag will enable deliver today
Please try and reach me with my number (720) 378-7987 TEXT OR CALL as I can not afford to spend more time here due to other delivery I have to take care of. Here are the papers backing the funds together with my ID CARD as I can accompany you to your bank were you will deposit the fund successfully with these papers. I have all vital paper with me but I can only present you the hard copy when I reach your house as that it's the diplomatic rules, such as authorization to deliver.
Re-confirm to me your information urgent
Correct phone number ...........
Delivery Address ..............
Your Nearest International Airport.............
You can direct the tag fee to our Head Office as they will get the Yellow Tag here for you authority. reply on my E-mail (email@example.com) GET BACK TO ME WITH PAYMENT INFORMATION USE WESTERN UNION OFFICE OR MONEY GRAM OFFICE SEND THE $100 NOW OR BUY $100 ITUNES CARD SEND ME NOW TO MAKE THIS DELIVERY OF YOUR PACKAGE FUND OF $9.5M USD TO YOUR DOORSTEP FASTER
Receiver CHRIST ATTOH.
Country Benin Republic.
Country Code 00229
Amount $100 US Dollars
Text Question. when
I AM WAITING FOR THE PICTURES OF THE $100 ITUNES CARD ONCE YOU BUY IT NOW AND COMPLETE RECEIVE AND ENJOY YOUR PACKAGE FUND OF $9.5M USD TODAY
DIPLOMAT MARK WILFRED
CALL OR TEXT ME URGENT (720) 378-7987