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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "account opening" (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. )
- "account opening form" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Edward Williams" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 05:58:08 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: CONTACT URGENT FOR YOUR FUNDS ONLINE TRANSFER PAYMENT APPROVAL BY BENIN REPUBLIC GOVERNMENT.
FROM THE DESK OF: Mrs Edward Williams
SENIOR ADVOCATE OF BENIN REPUBLIC
ADDRESS: 207 AVENUE GOVE12:55 02/09/2011RNMENT AREA BENIN REPUBLIC
CALL NUMBER: +229-989-557-95
Â Attention: Dear Friend,
I am glad to announce to you today that a new payment policy has been adopted and you have been short listed for payment via Online Banking, So kindly urgent contact Financial Bank Plc Benin republic where the funds approve by Benin RepublicÂ government to transfer online in to your account and you are to assure you follow there online payment instruction to make sure the transaction goes successful.
Below is the contact information of Financial Bank Benin Republic :
Contact Person: Dr. Good Luck Egodinkpa
Endeavour to email him with the following information for immediate processing,
FULL CONTACT ADDRESS:
MOBILE PHONE NUMBER:
Zip / Postal Code:
COPY OF ID OR PASSPORT ATTACHMENT:
These are the requirements that you need to be aware of before you contact him below.
1)You will fill the online account opening form Financial Bank Plc Benin Republic .
Send him an email in regards to your funds $5.5 Million that has been approved by
the Federal Government of Benin republic to transfer on your behalf through there online banking service.
Â Yours Sincerely,
Mrs. Edward Williams
Federal Republic Of Benin
YOUâRE ONLINE BANKING PAYMENT.