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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million united states 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)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- +22993154574 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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: "PRINCE EZEUGO" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2008 12:09:33 -0700
Subject: CONTACT CENTRAL BANK FOR YOUR ATM CARD
*Its my pleasure to inform you that your bank draft of US$4. M (FOUR MILLION
UNITED STATES DOLLARS) have stayed more than necessary and i went to Central
Bank Of West African States to discuss this with the bank director as its
getting to expiry date. Then he told me that i should not allow your
certified bank draft to expire unclaimed. However he told me that your fund
can be processed into an ATM GOLD CARD and deliver it to you via a Courier
Diplomatic Means. Therefore i have paid for the processing and delivery fees
of the Card and they have processed it. But you have to send the amount of
$255 United States Dollars to them so that they can obtain an Affidavit Of
Ownership on your behalf from the Federal High Court Benin to enable you
claim your Card. Now contact the bank with below information,contact person.
*DIRECTOR FOREIGN OPERATION DEPARTMENT *
*CENTRAL BANK OF WEST AFRICAN STATES *
*20/22 GERICO ROUTE COTONOU *
*BENIN REPUBLIC. *
*Tel ; +229-93154574*
*Email;(**firstname.lastname@example.org* <email@example.com>*) Contact them now with your
full contact informations such as your full Name, Your Contact address and
your direct phone number so that they will commence with the delivery
*Mr.Prince Eze Ugo.*