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:
- "(ecowas)" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Pauline Collins"<email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2011 17:16:43 -0300
Subject: MAIL FROM BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION!!!
BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION
The British School of Cotonou,
Haie Vive, 08 BP 0352,
The Government of the West African Countries (ECOWAS) under the African Union (AU) have recompensed you following the meeting held with the Government of the various countries' high commission with the AU chairman, Muammar al-Gaddafi for the fraudulent activities carried out by her Citizens on you.
This is to cushion the effect of the present economic difficulties on you. Your email address confirms that you were among those defrauded as listed by the FBI and Scotland Yard through email scam by fraudsters either as contract payment, Next of kin claims, lottery and game wins etc. By citizens of either Nigeria, Benin Republic, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea and from any part of the globe where they operate from.
Be informed that a total of Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($850,000.00) was allocated to you by the heads of states of the African Union as you were indicated as one of the fraud victims and the method which this fund shall be sent to you is by ATM CARD.
Your current phone number/contact address should be made available to this Commission in acknowledgement of this mail to effect the processing and release of your fund by the nominated bank.You can as well contact the Director in charge of the release of your ATM CARD.
Name: Mr. Scott Mandy
Do note that all fees has been paid except the shipping fee of $150 which you need to pay for the shipping of your ATM CARD, any extra money is not allowed and prohibited, so if you were asked for any more fee apart from the $150 which is for the shipping fee then you should not hesitate to get intouch with us for investigation of whom is responsible for that demand.
You shall be directed on how the shipping fee of $150 will be paid as soon as you have contact Mr. Scott Mandy with the above information for the shipping of your ATM CARD.
Further communication between you and fraudsters should be discontinued as such will result to a total cancellation of the release of the stated fund to you. You are requested to acknowledge the receipt of this mail for proper update of the file opened for you in this regard.
Mrs. Pauline Collins for.
Mr. Bob Dewar. (Commissioner)