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)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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: MRS JOY TUTU <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2021 09:34:22 +0100
We are here to informed you that we are doing of the year bonus in
this honorable western union or money gram office.And in the light of
above,i am here to notify you that we are ready to start sending you
your daily payment of $7000.00 until your total fund of $7.500,000
million are final transfer to you,
Note:All the necessary requested by the Headquarter has been approve
this morning by the same INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (I.M.F)And there
are (three) Document as they secure on your behalf which you may even
tender to any authority in your country that may ask any question
concerning the source of your fund. Meanwhile send your required
information immediately so that i will verify your activate file to
transfer your $7000.
Bellow is the Western Union Contact information:
Contact Name: Dr. Kelvin Morrison
Contact E-mail:( email@example.com )
Phone:+229 +229 62067151
Western Union Agent. Cotonou, Benin.
Be it known to you that this bonus will end this mouth. As it stand
now,i advise you get back quickly as you receive this message to
enable this honorable western union or money gram office made
successful transfer into your name today,
And if we mistakenly fail to do as instructed by the (I.M.F) this
western union or money gram office office branch will be persecuted
according to the law.
Attached copy of your Identification
I look forward to your urgent and positive response. Yours in service
Federal Republic of Benin
MRS JOY TUTU