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:
- "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. )
- "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.
- 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: "UN(OIOS)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Feb 2021 03:25:55 -0800
Subject: Reclaiming Your Fund
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES (OIOS),
INTERNAL AUDIT, MONITORING, CONSULTING AND INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION
Our Ref: UN/TH/RE-1077-V/2021
Dear Valued Citizen,
Information gathered from our investigative and monitoring department
also from our corporate headquarters now stated that you haven't
received your approved compensation/contract fund because it has been
unnecessarily delayed by the corrupt/wrong individuals.
Now you only have 48hours to effect payment for the activation and
notarization of your payment to enable you cash up your total fund
($2.7 million) we have decided that you are to go ahead and pay the
sum of $43usd only for the activation/notarization of your payment
file. This mandate is from the corporate headquarters that you
receive your total payment upon the receipt of this $43usd activation
Note: This is being monitored by the FBI and IMF financial crime
monitoring team all for your own safety and for other innocent
and they also warn that any move contrary to this by you or any other
person is a violation of financial crimes law and will be treated as
such and you are also warn to cut communications or whatever business
with those corrupt/wrong persons.
To this effect, you are required to reconfirm and authenticate your
given particulars below for certainty and onward processing and
release of your funds as we may not be held liable for any wrong payment.
(8)Alternative email address:___
Kindly send the $43 through western union Or money gram/RIA outlet
around you and be assured that immediately our cashier confirm your
payment of $43 you shall receive your fund without any further delay.
1.receiver name:______DAVID ATI
Do this immediately you receive this message because time is of the
essence here and Thanks for adhering to these instructions and once
accept our congratulations.
Dr Rodriguez Arouna Raimi
From the Office of the secretary general (OIOS BENIN REP.)