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:
- 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. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Barr.Tony Johnson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2021 08:24:34 -0700
Subject: RE : GOOD NEWS
This is to bring to your notice that I am delegated from the United
Nations Office and Diamond Bank Plc to pay 100 Benin Republic 419 scam
victims Us$1,500,000.00 each, you are listed and approved for this
payments as one of the scammed victims, get back to us as soon as
possible for the immediate payment of your Us$1,500,000.00
On this faithful recommendations want you to know that during the last
UN meeting held at Proto Novo, Capital Of Benin Republic, it was
alarmed so much by the rest of the world in the meeting on the lose of
funds by various foreigners to the scam artists operating in
syndicates all over the world today, in other to retain the good image
of the country, the president of this country Mr.Patrice Talon is now
paying 100 victims of this operators Us$1,500,000.00 each.
Due to the corrupt and inefficient banking systems in Benin
Republic,the payments are to be paid by Diamond Bank Plc. as
corresponding paying bank under funding assistance by the National
Westminster bank London. According to the number of applicants at
hand,84 beneficiaries has been paid ,half of the victims are from the
United States and Asia, we still have more 16 left to be paid the
compensations of Us$1,500,000.00 each.
Your particulars was mentioned by one of the syndicates who was
arrested in Cotonou as one of their victims of the operators, you are
hereby warned not to communicate or duplicate this message to him for
any reason what so ever, the US secret service is already on trace of
the criminal, you can receive your compensations payments via DIAMOND
BANK WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER (PAYMENT DEPARTMENT OFFICE).
Furthermore,you are advice to reconfirm your billing address include
your full name and direct contact telephone number to the Manager
Diamond Bank Western Union Money Transfer Payment Consultant Office
for the immediate transfer of your money through there department, the
contact information is as follows.
MANAGER DIAMOND BANK WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER (PAYMENT DEPARTMENT OFFICE.)
Email : email@example.com
Direct Line: +22990567133
Call Mr.Alex Williams immediately you get this email to enable him
speed up for your payment or you send him an e-mail forwarding all the
necessary information's required from you such as your full name ,your
address,telephone number and copy of your id card or driving license
so that they will commence on processing.
But I will advise you to try and call him to facilitate your payment urgent.
Barr.Tony Johnson .