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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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: "MRS.GRACE BOYI" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2011 18:30:10 -0700
Subject: FROM MRS GRACE BOYI FROM BENIN REPUBLIC IN AFRICA, PLEASE READ AND
UNDERSTAND WHY I AM WRITING YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE AND REPLY ME IMMEDIATELY.
My Dear Good Friend,
I crave your indulgence at this mail coming from somebody like me, whom you
do not know before. I decided to do this after praying over the situation.
You should please consider the transaction on its content and not the fact
that you have not known me before. I need not dwell on how I came by your
contact information because there are many such possibilities these days.
I would like to introduce myself as MRS.GRACE BOYI, of Republic of Benin, a
widow to Late MR.DAVID BOYI (for Consular of the Benin Embassy in Madrid,
Spain. I have been recently been diagnosed of Cancer of the Pelvic. I am
writing to you now from my sick bed because of how this transfer is urgent
There is US$18.5M (Eighteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United State
Dollars) my husband has in an account with the AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK,
Benin of which I am the next of kin. With my health condition and because my
husband and I have no children, I am looking for a credible person that will
not betrayed me to whom I will pass the right of next of kin .
This person will apply to the bank and request for the transfer of the fund
to his/her bank account.
This is on the condition that you will take only 30% of the fund for
yourself, 10% used for expenses, while you will use the remaining 60% for
the less privilege people in the society.
This is in fulfillment of the last request of my husband: that a substantial
part of the fund be used to carter for the less privileged. If this
condition is acceptable to you, you should contact me immediately with your
full names and contact information so that I will ask our family lawyer to
prepare the authorization that will give you the right of next of kin to the
account in the bank. I will also give you a text of the application you are
to send to the bank.
I cannot predict what will be my fate by the time the fund will be
transferred into your account, but you should please ensure that the fund is
used as i have described above. Once you have reply this message I will like
you to contact my private doctor on his direct telephone number which is:
+22996 280 414, his name is Dr.Felix Rechard from St Victoria private
hospital here, just to notify him that you have send me an email so that I
will check it and respond to you immediately by sending you a letter of
claim to fill and send to the bank.
Looking forward to your immediate response.