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:
- "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.
- +22997799853 (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.
- email@example.com (Sify; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Ms Joyce Hall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2009 03:30:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Your Payment $1.950,000.00 USD
UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION
UNIT IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK
From:, Special Envoy to
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
Contact FEDX Courier for delivery
We have been having a meeting for the past 7 months which just ended 2 days ago with the secretary to the UNITED NATIONS. This email is to all the people that have been victim in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS IN Affiliation with WORLD BANK have agreed to compensate you with the sum of US$1,950,000.00, for self support.This is regarding the draws he organized before he left the office to help individuals to own a self charity organization also for your to build your Personal Company/organization so as to help the less privileged in there society.
This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their
contract, inheritance sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems and the World financial Crisis etc. We found your name in the list of those who are to benefit from these compensation exercise and that is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed You are advised to contact Mr Benson Mendes of FEDX Courier office in Benin Republic, as he is our representative in Benin, contact him immediately for your Cheque/ International Bank Draft of USD$1,950,000.00.
This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose ok?, so he will send it to you and you can clear it in any bank of your choice. Therefore, you should send him your full Name... telephone number.... Postal Address..., Pass Port or Driver's Licence... where you want him to send the Draft to you. Contact Mr. Benson Mendes immediately for your Cheque at the given address below:
Comapny Name: FEDX Courier.
Contact Person: Benson Mendes
I apologize on behalf of my organization for any delay you might have
encountered in receiving your fund in the past. Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as you cash your Bank Draft. Making the world a better place.
Office of Secretary-
General Ban Ki-Moon.
Ms Joyce Hall Financial officer