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:
- "activation fee" (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 ever send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (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.
- +22997311271 (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: "jamesndu4 Gazeta.pl" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2008 10:22:03 +0200
Subject: CONTACT OCEANIC BANK PLC
I have contacted my secretary to confirm if you have received the
compensation draft cheque of ( $1.5Million USD UNITED STATES DOLLARS )
which I issued in your name,but he told me that he could not send it to you
because of the courier charges. Now I have called my bank to cancel any
payment regards to the draft cheque and then authorized them to transfer
the payment into ATM CARD in your name which they did.
As of now be informed that all charges has been paid and the ATM CARD is
going to be in your name, but to reactivate the ATM Card you have to forward
your current informations as requested below to the bank and the only money
you will pay to the bank is US$166.00 for the ATM Card Reactivation fee,
then they will send you the ATM CARD for you immediate use.
Here are the informations you have to forward to the bank:
1. YOUR FULL NAMES:______
2. Postal ADDRESS:_______
3. PHONE NUMBER:_________
4. CELL NUMBERS:_______
5. EMAIL ADDRESS :________
CONTACT PERSON: Mr.Mike Godwin
Direct Mobile: +229-97311271
Director, ATM Foreign Operation Dept.
OCEANIC BANK PLC Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Email : (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Get back to me once you received the ATM CARD ok.
Thanks and God bless you.
Mr James Ndu