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. )
- "mtcn" (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. )
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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 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: "MR. JAMES WHITE" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2022 16:47:20 -0700
Subject: Attention: Please, 14/06/2022
WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER HEAD OFFICE / INTERNATIONAL
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC. /:LOCATION.
RUE BPH14,KINGSTON AVENUE,
WITH THE BEST SERVICE TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERS./ REF: MT89TQ :
DIRECTOR Mr. James White
Whatsapp No: (+229) 5541 3694
Telephone Number: (+229) 9194 7764
INSTRUCTION ON YOUR PAYMENT FILES OF $2.7MILLIONS UNITED STATE DOLLARS TRANSFER:
We are sorry for the delayed response.I have received your mail concerning your daily payment of $5,100.00Usd as directed to this head office western union and thank you for contacting our office and i am MR. JAMES WHITE the Director Of Western Union Head Office here in Benin Republic, YES !! Your re-confirming information as it is this the same with one i have from the depositor after my verification, Yes it is true that you have fund of $2.700.000.00 it was deposited by the Federal Ministry of Finance in your name and the instruction was to transfer the money to you and we have been waiting to hear from you since regarding the issue.
According to an instruction from the western union head office here in Benin Republic which indicates that i should be sending $5,100.00Usd daily until the total of $2.7 million usd is completely transferred to you,We also want to notify you that your depositor has paid for the transfer charges and your first payment has already been sent but was on hold because the re-boost activation fee has not been paid. In accordance to the engagement agreement with Benin Foundation De France
(IMF /ECO-WAS /UNITED NATIONS) which we were clearly warned not to tamper with your fund and no deduction for whatever reason, stating that it is a measure to safeguard the fund of the beneficiaries from embezzlement and misdirection.
Now we have already sent $5,100.00Usd in your name today and all the necessary arrangement concern the MTCN and sender's name is ready for your pick up at any western union office nearest to you but still on hold due to the unpaid endorsement & activation file fee amount of $198.00 you are suppose to pay before your daily transfer will be made available to you to pick up on daily. You are required to send us $198.00 to activate your payment file account before you will start
receiving your fund from this office.
Be informed that your fund was kept on hold due to an instruction from the Manager's Office (Capital UBA Bank Manager ) so that you may not by any chance pick the fund until you have paid the re-boost fee of $198.00 USD only.
You are assured that immediately you pay this re-boost activation fee of $198.00 USD, the MTCN to your first payment of $5,100.00USD will be released to you so that you will be able to pick it up from any western union office or agent nearest to you in your Area. Note: it is vital that you send the money today because we would not be allowed to install your funds to you without this your western union payment file account being activated. You also have to understand that we give only 3 days to have your file re-confirmed otherwise it will be cancel and divert into Government treasurer/purse.
So therefore you are official advice to act fast upon receipt of the email so that we will activate your file before the given date will expire.
Therefore you are required to send our access charge of $198 only to activate your payment file so that you will start receiving your fund daily in this office as they assured me so do not delay any more so that i will meet up to send you your first payment today due to that we are mandate to be sending $5,100.00 to you once in a day.
However below is the information of our accountant officer that you will use to remit the $198 dollars, So kindly send it via your nearest western union money transfer to enable us pick it up and release your first payment of $5,100.00 dollars. Below is the information where to send the $198.00.
Receivers Name: Innocent Sopulu Obiora
Text Question: How Long
Now am waiting for your urgent reply of your activate of your $2.7million dollar payment file and release your first payment $5,100.00 to you immediately. Furthermore,the total amount to be transferred to you from this office is the sum of $2.7million dollar as instructed by the Ministry.
YOUR URGENT RESPOND IS HIGHLY NEEDED.
YOURS IN SERVICE
MR. JAMES WHITE
WHATSAPP NUMBER: (+229) 5541 3694
EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com
FOREIGN OPERATION MANAGER DIRECTOR
WESTERN UNION OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC.