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:
- "please indicate your willingness" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Dr Mathieu Dossou <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2011 23:25:45 +0530 (IST)
Subject: Can i trust you for this?
Dearly Beloved Friend,
My urgent need for a foreign partner is the reason why i contacted you for this transaction. i got your contact from tourist search while i was searching for a foreign partner as this message might meet you in utmost surprise. However, it is all just sure of your capability and reliability to champion this business opportunity when I prayed to God about you.
I am a banker by profession in Cotonou, Benin Republic and currently holding the post of an Auditor in our bank. i have the opportunity of transferring the left over funds ($4.1 Million Dollars) of one of my bank's clients who died along with his entire family also who owns a business empire here in Benin Rep on his way back to his country for a festival.
Below is the BBC site News of the event
Hence,i contacted you because you have the same last name as the deceased so,I am inviting you for a business deal where this money can be shared between us in the ratio of 60/40% if you agree to my business proposal. Further details of the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as i receive your return email. Please indicate your willingness by sending your profile for more clarification.I assure you that this transaction is 100% risk free,you will be required to stand as the next of kin whereby all the necesarry documents to the claim of this fund is intact within my reach as his account confidant.
Hoping to hear from you immediately
Dr Mathieu Dossou
Mobile : +229-97983584