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)
- "million dollars" (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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (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: "MR. RIVET DUKE.(DIRECTOR FOREIGN REMITANCE)" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2013 19:01:45 -0800
Subject: RE: YOUR OUTSTANDING PAYMENT NOTIFICATION!!!
MESSAGE FROM INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND UNIT (IMF-UNIT).
DEPT: WORLD DEBT RECONCILIATION AGENCIES.
RE: YOUR OUTSTANDING PAYMENT NOTIFICATION.
ADDRESS: #59 ADEKUNLE FAJUYI ROAD ADAMASINGBA MOKOLA,
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC.
Your email was found in the Central Computer among the list of unpaid lotto beneficiaries that was originated from Europe, Asia Plus Middle east, Americans among the list of individuals and companies. Your unpaid fund has been located to the Inter group bank benin.
You are among the beneficiaries who will receive a contractual sum of $11,000,000.00 (Eleven Million Dollars) and it have been approved for months.
For more direction and instruction on how to receive your fund. Kindly furnish us with below information:
1. Your Full Name:
6. Cell phone Number:
I apologize to you on behalf Of IMF (International Monetary Fund) for failure to pay your funds in time, which according to records in the system had been long overdue. I wait to hear from you soonest.
MR. RIVET DUKE.(DIRECTOR FOREIGN REMITTANCE)
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND UNIT (IMFUNIT)
TEL: +229 686 70 140