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:
- "security keeping fee" (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. )
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: OFFICE FILE <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2011 06:22:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Attn Beneficary,
Federal Ministry of Finance
Payment Reconciliation Panel
via Office of the Presidency
Rue 86 Cotonou , Republic Of Benin
I,AM, MrsÂ Evelyn Benz, the Director of Credit Bank Benin Republic this isÂ officially inform you that your Inherited bank draft worth sum of $5.7millonÂ United State Dollars has been credited into ATMÂ MASTERÂ CARD by the issuing Bank as ordered by this Ministry of Finance, Payment Reconciliation Panel, office of the Presidency Benin Republic. Because the Bank Draft worth USD$5.7millon has less than a year to expire and when it expires the money will go into Government reserve. With that I decided to help youÂ creditedÂ your bank draftÂ into ATMÂ MASTERÂ CARD so that yourÂ Bank DraftÂ will not expire, because, I know when you get your ATMÂ MASTERÂ CARD definitely you must compensate me.
Meanwhile, your ATM MASTER CARD has been deposited with D.H.L delivery Company for award deliver direct to your doorstep. Therefore, I, want you to contact D.H.L Courier Company with your Full Contact information bellow,
Your full name;..............
Your nearest airport;............
P.O Box address:.................
A copy of your picture;
so that theÂ company will deliver your ATMÂ MASTERÂ CARD to your designated address with the pin-code number so that you will withdraw on your funds immediateÂ without any delay. Like I, stated earlier, the delivery charges has been paid but I did not pay their official security keeping fees, since they refused. Because, the Reasons they refusal is that they do not know when you will contact them.Â As of now,Â I, deposited it today begin 20th August 2011. Therefore, try to contact them immediately to avoid any increase their security keeping fee ok.
Below is D.HL Contact Informationâs Bellow,
Contact Person: Rev PastorÂ Luis Moore
DHL Courier Company
Email:Address( firstname.lastname@example.org )
let me know immediately you received your ATMÂ MASTERÂ CARD.
Barr Mrs Evelyn Benz
Director of Credit Bank