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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Bk; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "myoffice.file" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 16:35:34 +0100 (CET)
Subject: READ AND GET BACK TO ME ( FROM MR ALISON WAGANER )
Good day and how are you doing with your family? Hope fine. Please let this message do not be a surprise to you, read and get back to me for more details. My name is Mr. Alison Waganer.
I work as the Auditing & Accounting Manager in a Local Bank here in Cotonou-Benin Republic. I am contacting you in regards to arightful inheritance and transfer of a huge sum of money from a dormant account in my bank.
A dormant domiciliary account with a BAL.Of 8.2Million US dollar, in an account that belongs to one of our late foreign customers.The owner of this dormant account died On the 24th of July 2006,his wife and their only daughter were involved in a car accident along Akonji express Road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since his death, none of his next-of-kin or relations has come forward to lay claims to this money as the heir.
The bank cannot release the fund from his account unless you apply for claim as the next-of-kin to deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines. The bank will approve this fund if you apply for the claim of this money.
I need your cooperation in this transaction. I will provide the necessary information needed in order to claim this money legitimately without any hitch and I give you my word of honour that this will and must be 100% risk free.
After the successful transfer , we shall share in ratio of 40% for you and 60% for me.
If you are in interested, please contact me through my private email address (email@example.com) so we can commence on all arrangements and I will give you more information on how we would handle this project.
Please treat this business with utmost confidentiality and send me the Following information:
(1) Full names:
(2) Private phone number:
(4) Age and Sex:
(5) Private email address:
You can also call me on +229 97014077.
Mr. Alison Waganer.