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:
- 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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found 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. )
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- +2299418499 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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: UNITED NATION <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 05:39:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Treat as very urgent
Map of UN member states
and their UN-recognized dependencies
Economic Community of West African States
RE-CHANGE OF ADRESS.
I am Mr Ben ki more the newly appointed Director United Nation Legal Affairs, Security and Investigation, In African Region. Due to high debt profile within West African Sub Region I met with Head States of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) The Executive Arms of the government, has directed me to come down to Benin Republic to Investigate your fund and to make sure that we approve all outstanding debts owned to Foreign beneficiaries by the Government of ECOWAS especially Benin Republic in this 3 quarter of this fiscal year 2009.
This decision was taken based on the abnormities and inability of the BANKS in Benin Republic and other ECOWAS Nations to Release your fund into your in Atm card Whereby it was discovered that some Directors Bank were diverting foreign beneficiaries payment to another account of their choice overseas. In view of this, during our investigation I found out that an account was submitted to divert your fund to a Germany account.
Below is the address he submitted to send him this atm card and I want you to confirm if you are aware of the new development because we are about are about send him atm card Address stated bellow today.
Beneficiary: CERSTIN WENGER SHENOUDA
5 FRANKFURTER STREET 2456 GARMANY
This is to inform you that your Inheritance funds of US$4.5M is ready via Pre-Paid Master Card. Be advised that ATM Card Number; 4883 0009 7867 1440 has been approved and upgraded by our issuing bank Intercontinental Bank Plc in your favors. Meanwhile, your Secret Pin Number is 5131. You are advised that a maximum withdrawal value of US$20,000.00 is permitted daily as it is duly inter-switched and you can make withdrawal in any location of the ATM Center of your choice nearest to you.
We have also concluded delivery arrangement with our accredited courier service Company for onwards delivery of the ATM Card to you without any further delay. In view of this development, you are requested to immediately contact Intercontinental Bank Plc
Rev Paul Adams
Intercontinental Bank Plc
Direct phone +2299418499
Finally,. To know if you have giving instruction to send tour atm card to the above address. If you fail to contact this office on or before 48hrs from now the atm card will be send to the Germany address.
FILL THIS BELOZ INFOMATION
1. YOUR FULL NAMES:______
2. Postal ADDRESS:_______
3. PHONE NUMBER:_________
4. CELL NUMBERS:_______
Treat as very urgent, as we also remind you once again that your ATM Card is ready.
Thanks for your co-operation.
Mr Ben ki more
UN Office of Legal Affairs
Security and Investigation