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:
- ",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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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.
- +447053439980 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "felix hachel" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 03:34:27 -0700
Subject: Yours In Service,
We hereby confirm receipt of part payment of US$8,500,000.00 dollars
Only into our official account by order of the African Development Bank(ADB). They are in-charge of Foreign Debt Recovery Committee on Overdue Contract / Next of Kin payments in Africa, and yours is indicated in
We sincerely appologize for the delays and inconvenience and advice you to STOP any further communication with any other payment centres in Europe, as well as your
associates in any of the African countries e.g., South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Abidjan, Angola, Cotonou for they contributed 100% hindrances to the release of your funds.
Kindly supply these informations so we can prepare a payment slot of you immediately;
1. Full names
2. House address(country inclusive)
3. Phone number(office and home)
4. Name of bank
5. Name of compay(if any)
6,Your email address
Upon your response, we will decide on the best way to send you the money.For any further inquiry, please contact the undersigned officer as funds will be retrieved to treasury
after ten (10) business days of this notice.
Yours In Service,
Manager, Foreign operations Dept.
Contact me via email