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. )
- "hundred thousand united state dollars" (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)
- ",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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "diplomatic courier" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier service" (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: REV TONY JOHNSON DIRECTOR CASH PROCESSING UNIT UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2023 08:11:32 +0100
Subject: YOUR PAYMENT NOTIFICATION.TREAT AS URGENT
UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA BENIN
AGBOKOU STREET, COTONOU
P.M.B. 0127, AGBOKOU, COTONOU
ATTN DEAR BENEFICIARY,
I AM TONY JOHNSON, DIRECTOR CASH PROCESSING UNIT,UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA
[UBA] THE ONLY BANK APPOINTED BY THE O.A.U MEMBERS LED BY PRESIDENT JOHN KUFFOR.
BECAUSE OF THE FRAUD GOING ON IN WEST AFRICA COUNTRIES WHERE SOME
INNOCENT BENEFICIARIES WERE ASK TO PAY IN ADVANCE BEFORE RECEIVE THE
MONEY OWED TO THEM. THE ABOVE AFRICA UNION HELD MEETING IN BENIN
REPUBLIC AND RESOLVE TO PAY ALL BENEFICIARIES IN CASH THROUGH MEANS OF
DIPLOMATIC COURIER SERVICE.WE RECEIVE YOUR FILES FROM INTERNATIONAL
MONETARY FUND(I.M.F) AS ONE OF THE BENEFICIARIES.
TAKE NOTE; TEN THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS (US$10,000) HAVE BEEN
MAPPED OUT FOR ALL EXPENSES IN SENDING THE MONEY TO YOU THROUGH
GENUINE DIPLOMATIC COURIER SERVICE AND HOW IT WAS SPENT WILL BE
DETAILS TO YOU. THEREFORE, I WANT YOU TO BEAR IT IN MIND THAT YOUR
TOTAL FUND WILL BE NO MORE THREE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED
STATE DOLLARS ($3,500,000.00) BUT THREE MILLION FOUR HUNDRED AND
NINETY THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS ($3,490,000.00).
IF ANY BODY TELLS YOU THAT HE IS PAYING YOU IN BANK DRAFT OR TELE-GRAFIC
MONEY TRANSSFER BOTH WESTERN UNION OR MONEY GRAM, DO NOT LISTEN TO HIM
OR HER BECAUSE DUE TO THIS FRAUD NO INTERNATIONAL BANK HON OURS OUR
REMITTANCE INSTRUCTION ANY MORE. THAT IS WHY WE SETTLED TO PAY IN CASH
THROUGH COURIER .
WE ALSO RECEIVED A SECURITY REPORT THAT YOU PAID THE FRAUDSTERS WHO
HAVE BEEN DECEIVING YOU, TELLING YOU THAT THEY ARE GOING TO SEND THIS
MONEY TO YOU.DEAR,AS A SENIOR BANKER, CONTROLLING THIS CASH PAYMENT
NOW, I ADVISE YOU NOT TO WASTE YOUR MONEY BY PAYING ANY BODY IN
ADVANCE AGAIN, AND IF YOU JUST FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTION, YOU WILL RECEIVE
YOUR MONEY IN THREE DAYS TIME.
YOUR FUND WILL NOW PACKAGE IN BOX AND TAKE TO THE DIPLOMATIC COURIER
SERVICE FOR IMMEDIATE SHIPMENT, I WILL ALSO SEND THE PICTURE OF THE BOX
BY ATTACHMENT TO YOU TO SEE HOW THE MONEY IS PACKED, I WILL SEND YOU
MORE MAILS TO GIVE YOU MORE INFORMATION WITH MY INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT
FOR YOU TO KNOW THE GENUINE OF THIS TRANSACTION.
THEREFORE, DO FORWARD YOUR HOME ADDRESS AND DIRECT PHONE NUMBER TO ME
FOR QUICK DELIVERY BECAUSE TIME IS NOT IN OUR SIDE.
ALL THE DOCUMENTS WILL BE SENT TO YOU IF I AM ASSURED THAT YOU HAVE
STOPPED SENDING MONEY TO THOSE FRAUDSTER . BUT GOD WILL SURELY JUDGE
ALL OF THEM WHO LIVES BY CHEATING. MY BIBLE SAYS WHAT DOES IT PROFIT A
MAN IF YOU GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD BUT LOOSE YOUR SOUL, WHICH IS NOTHING.
I AM WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU WITH THE REQUIRED INFORMATION OF YOURS.
REV TONY JOHNSON
DIRECTOR CASH PROCESSING UNIT
UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA
Customer Care Service Call +229-6154-6761