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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: walid husni ali <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2011 12:27:25 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Urgent Reply Needed Please (hope to read from you soonest)
Please I want to introduce myself and this business opportunity to you, I am Mr Walid Husni, the director in charge of auditing and accounting section of Bank Cotonou, Republic of Benin, West Africa, and also a special account officer to our bank deceased customer.
He was a seasoned contractor with Benin Cement Company, Cotonou, who unfortunately died in a plane crash of Union Transport Africaines Flight Boeing 727 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin on 25th December, 2003.
I wish to know if we can work together. I would like you to stand as the next of kin to my deceased customer who made a deposit with our bank.
He died without any registered next of kin and as such the funds now have an open beneficiary mandate. If you are interested please do let me know so that I can give you comprehensive details on what we are to do.
I urgently hope to get your response. You may also reach me at my private mail address or call me for further information on, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Walid Husni.