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:
- 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:
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "million 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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Williams Gerald <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 08:02:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: From Mr.Williams Gerald(PhD)
>From Mr.Williams Gerald(PhD)
I am a senior Accountant in my Bank and Accounting officer to Hamid Ayed who was a contractor with the government of BENIN . On Thursday 25th December 2003 Hamid Ayed died along with families and Business Partners, victims of UTA Flight 141 Boeing 727 bound for Beirut which crashed shortly after take-off in Benin Republic from Country's main city, Cotonou.
Most occupants of the plan unfortunately lost their lives. Since then, the Board of Directors of my Bank have made several enquirers to their embassy to locate any of my customer's extended relations but to no avail. I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and Property left behind by my client before they get Confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this Huge deposits of US$20.5M was lodged.
The Bank has published several Notices for the Next of Kin of the deceased to apply for collection of these Funds or have the account confiscated within a shot Period of time.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now I seek your consent to present you as the Next of kin of the deceased, so that the proceeds of this Account valued at US$20.5 million dollars can be paid to you and Then you and me can share the money, 60% to me and 40% to you. I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to backup any claim we may make. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable this deal through.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate Arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the Law. Please get in touch with my email(firstname.lastname@example.org) and send to me your Telephone and fax numbers to enable us further about this Transaction. Please reply this letter to my alternative for security Purpose.
Ecobank Benin Republic