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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "hundred thousand 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.)
- "barrister" (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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "lindasunday Gazeta.pl" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2008 13:36:01 +0100
Subject: CONTACT ATM DEPARTMENT NOW FOR YOUR FUNDS
Attention: My Dear.
Its my pleasure to inform you that your bank draft of US$2.5Million (TWO
MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) have stayed more than
necessary and i went to FINANCIAL BANK Of West African States to discus this
with the bank director as its getting it's expirey 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 processed it. But you
have to send the amount of $185.00 United States Dollars to them so that
they can obtain an Affidavit Of Ownership from the Federal High Court Benin.
Now contact the bank with below information,contact person.
DIRECTOR FOREIGN OPERATION DEPARTMENT
FINANCIAL BANK OF WEST AFRICAN STATES
20/22 HOSPITAL ROUTE
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC.
Email; ( email@example.com )
Tel ; 229-9387_9352
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 arrangements.
Barrister Tony Moris