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:
- 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:
- "you are required to pay " (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 send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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. )
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS ROSELIEN PAULOKOYE." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 16:08:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: GOOD NEWS CONTACT FEDEX COMPANY FOR THE IMMEDIATE SHIP OF YOUR FUND TO YOU WITHIN 24 HOURS.
MARGIN-TOP: 5px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 5px
MARGIN-TOP: 5px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 5px
Happy new year to you,
How are you today?I am writing to inform you that I have Paid the fee for
delivering the Bank Draft. And I went to the bank to confirm if the Cheque has
expired or getting near to expire and Raymond Aludi the Director of Bank Of
Afrique Benin told me that before the cheque will get to you that it will
He advised me to cash the $850.000.oo to cash payment
to avoid loosing this funds However, all the necessary arrangement of delivering
the $850.000.00 in cash was made with Fedex Company Services here in Cotonou
Benin Republic, Mr Raymond Aludi the Director of Bank Of Afrique Benin have
agreed to package the fund in cash for me. Infact I thank God very much for all
the movement I made every thing goes smoothly.As for our agreement with the
Fedex they promised that your consignment will leave this Country any moment
Please write a letter
of application to the given address below.
MR SAQUILI RIVALDO.
TEl: +229-98-95-28-02 /TELEPHONE
Please, Send them your
contacts information such as listed below to able them locate you immediately
they arrived in your country with your consignment.Bear in mind that you are
required to pay the fee of $120 USD before fedex can complete the delivery to
your doorstep within 24 hours over night delivery,The purpose of this fee as
disclose to me by Fedex management board member is to obtain insurance
certificate and claims of affadvite for your consignment to ensure safety
delivery to your doorstep.
3.YOUR CURRENT HOME TELEPHONE NUMBER.
4.YOUR CURRENT OFFICE
5.A COPY OF YOUR PICTURE
6.NEAREST AIRPORT TO
Note: The Fedex
Company don't know the contents of the Box. I registered it as an African art
materials. Bear in mind that nobody knows that the consignment contains money.I
am waiting for your urgent response.
Thanks and Remain
PAYMENT DIRECTOR FINANCIAL BANK PLC.