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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr.Johnson kimberly" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 15 May 2010 09:34:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: LETTER OF COMPENSATION!!.
I did not forgot your past effort by trying to help me, now i want to tell you that i have succeeded in getting those funds transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from Chile.
Contact my secretary in Cotonou de republic du Benin because I have left the wholeÂ instruction to him on your behalf and instruct him where to send the($1,500,000.00)with out any further delay for your compensation.Â
His name is Mr.Micheal Williams.
Mobile phone number:+229 98 84 84 20.
NB: Below is the required informationâs you will send to my secretary: -
(.i) full NAME ............
(ii) ADDRESS ........
(iii) COUNTRY ............
(iv) PRIVATE TEL .............
(v) PRIVATE FAX . ..............
A COPY OF YOUR ID IF ANY.........
In this moment, Iâm very busy here in Chile because of the investment projects, which the new partner and i are having at hand. So feel free to get in touch with Mr.Micheal Williams to send the check to you without any delay.