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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "and cash it" (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. )
- "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: "Prof. Dr. David Johnson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 05:29:47 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Please contact the Rev Father Orums for your A.T.M,
Please contact the Rev Father Orums for your A.T.M,
My dear good Friend,
I hope by the special grace of almighty God this mail will find you in an excellent good condition of health today, I am your old friend Prof. Dr. David Johnson who contacted you late January 2010 over a business project of funds deposited in a Bank left by my late client which you turn down do to many internet scams and you never take me serious by them.
I am using this opportunity to inform you that the multi-million-dollar business transaction have been concluded and by the grace of God if you are still alive, here is your own benefit as I want to bless you for the year so that you will no that my first intention to contact you was to help me and to also benefit you and me.
I also proud to tell you that I am rich now. And for my promise to God, didn't get my past contact to you which fail us, but I am using this to help you finance your own business pending when I shall meet with you face to face and to give God the glory as I will be in your country by March ending 2011 for celebration with you and your family in this life time opportunity.
I am happy to tell you that I left a Certified International Cashier A.T.M for your compensation worth of $1.2million dollars only cashable any where in the world. I knew you may have forgotten me but God show me mercy to remember you. So contact a very good friend of mine Rev. Rafael Orums to receive the A.T.M from him and also forward me your contact address to enable me locate you and also do not fail to let me know once you get the A.T.M ok.
Contact: Rev. Rafael Orums LI.B, B.I, II.M,M.B.A. LBS.
Cotonou Benin Republic
Email address: email@example.com
Therefore you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your correct mailing address where you want him to send the A.T.M to avoid wrong payment/delivery and to ensure that you receive the A.T.M and cash it in any bank of your choice without delay.
Hoping to hear from you ASAP.
Prof. Dr. David Johnson.