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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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 (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Fr. Paul Anderson" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Oct 2014 13:16:21 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Fr. Paul Anderson
Please take your time to read this message; although we have never met before, this is no spam. It's a real message sent to you. I know also that you will be amazed at the level of trust that I am willing to place in a person that I have never seen nor spoken with.
My name is Fr. Paul Anderson, I am a catholic priest for over 55 years. I had a heart surgery on the 22-07-2014 and the Doctors have just informed me that I cannot live longer; I had a serious bleeding after the operation. I have decided to release to you the total sum of $2.970.000.00 (Two million Nine Hundred and seventy Thousand US DOLLARS) deposited with my Bank:I want you to use these amount to make the world a better place for the poor and less privileged, help the needy and also help your family members.
As a Catholic priest, I have no child, no wife, and no family. I have no other option as my days on earth are numbered, this is no joke. It's true we don't receive emails like this every day, but today is a different day so it's time for "REAL CHANGE" I will turn 77 years a day after tomorrow.
I took this decision because I was raised in an Orphanage so I don't have relatives and presently, I'm hospitalized at a Benin hospital, where I am undergoing treatment. That's why I have decided to contact you so that you can make good use of the money which I willed to you. Now, the people around me are only waiting for me to die, so that they can sit on my money and use it for their selfish interest. I hate evil minded people and that's why I want you to now contact my Lawyer:
Contact name:(Barrister)Mr. Dide Sedjro Elvys..
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office address: Rue 131 Saint Rita, Cotonou Benin Republic.
He will direct you on what to do to receive funds immediately; I have passed on my instructions to him so feel free to contact him. Please make sure you contact my Lawyer, he is the only one that can respond to you in due time. I wish you the very best in life. Always pray for my soul to rest in perfect peace, I would be a very happy man even in death if you use these funds for Good work to help humanity. I am 77 years old now and has been good to everyone around... please assure me that you would help me carry on the good work.
+Fr. Paul Anderson
NB: Do not fail to contact my Lawyer, because I might not be able to respond to your email in due time because of my ill health. Direct all questions to the Lawyer