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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "transfer into your account" (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)
- "million us 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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- 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 (Hotmail, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr David Marshal." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 08:37:14 -0800 (PST)
Subject: PLEASE READ AND REPLY.
FROM THE DESK OF MR DAVID MARSHAL
Bill and Exchange Manager
CARRE 101 RUE DE ST JANE 1st FLOOR
Cotonou,Republic Of Benin.
I am Mr David Marshal, Bill and Exchange Manager of the FINANCIAL BANK,of the Federal Republic of Benin.I know we have not met in person, but it is my wish to solicite your assistance in a business opportunity that will be benefited for you and I.
During our investigation and auditing in my Bank, in my department I came across an abandoned sum of money US$5.000.000 US dollars ( Five Million US Dollars) In an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer late MRS.F.A SHAFIQ , a citizen of LIBANON who died along wi th her entire family on 25th December 2003 in a plane crash.
Since we got information about her death, I have been expecting her Next of Kin to come over and claim her money because the management cannot release it unless somebody applies for it as Next of Kin or Relation to the Deceased as indicated in our Banking guidelines but unfortunately I learnt that all her family died alongside with her at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.
Seems you are a Foreigner you can easily make this deal with me , I will assist you to locate every proof document which will help you to execute this mo ney from the Banking computer.
I will arrange to formalize your papers so that you can be approved as Next-of-Kin to our late client and the Fund can be released to you immediately.
The courier/security company has agreed to release the Fund in Cash Payment System to the Next-of-kin to our late client through their liaison office depending on the area he/she may base.
They can pay in these countries;Europe:-Spain,Holand,France and london etc, Asia:-Dubai,Thailand,Taiwan,India,Indonesia,Malays ia and Singapore,African:-South-Africa,Ghana and Togo,America:-USA,Canada, Brazil,Peru and Mexico etc.
Or the Fund can be transfer into your account through Bank to Bank wire transfer system.
I will also appreciate for your positive response while you contact me once you receive this mail .
This matter requires your urgent attention, confidentiality and discretion no matter what your decision may be. Call me immediately you receive this mail:+229 93 97 4201.
You are advice to send your reply to me through this my private e-mail address:
Thanks and Best Regards.
Mr David Marshal.
Bill and Exchange Manager,
Cotonou Republique of Benin West Africa.