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:
- "activation fee" (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. )
- "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. )
- "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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Simon Bodehousse Idohou <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:55:26 -0800
Attn: Dear Beneficiary,
This is to bring to your notice with the recent UN meeting and 8th
National Assembly meeting that held at Cotonou, Capital of Benin
Republic with Committees on Debt Reconciliation and scam victimsâ
compensation office. It is because of the impossibility of your fund
transfer through the western union network and inefficient banking
systems in Benin Republic. we have credited your total sum of
US$3.700,000.00USD compensation funds into an ATM MASTER CARD and We
paid the activation fees and the delivery fees of the ATM Card to you,
We paid it because the ATM Card worth of US$3.700,000.00USD which have
been registered for delivery this morning has only 14 days to expire
in the custody of the DHL Express Courier Company and when it expires,
the money will go back into Federal Government treasury account as
Meanwhile, we agreed up that the delivery of your US$3.700,000.00USD
compensation funds in ATM CARD package will take place Tomorrow
morning. Now I want you to contact DHL Express Courier Delive
with your present residential address for the delivery so that they
will deliver your ATM Card Package to your home address without any
further delay. Be informed to re-confirm your following information.
Your Full Name,Your Address,Your Mobile Numbers,Occupation and Age
Be clearly informed that the delivery fees and the company
registration charges has been officially paid, but We did not pay
their official keeping fees since they refused, they refused because
they do not know when you are going to contact them. Contact Mr.
Dickson Greatpillar below.
Contact Person: Mr. Dickson Greatpillar
Tell Phone: +229 69272047
Contact them today and also send them the official keeping charges to
avoid increase of their Demur-rage fees and let me know once you
receive your ATM card Package.
Important Notice: Your ATM MASTER CARD package is rapped with its pin
code paper together with the instructions from the issuing Bank on how
you will be using the ATM MASTER CARD to withdraw your fund on daily
basis. I anticipate your total compliance to this message immediately.
Dr. Simon Bodehousse Idohou
BANK OF BENIN REPUBLIC
EXECUTIVE PAYMENT OFFICER (UN