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:
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Uyi Obed" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2011 03:45:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Payment of Accrued Interest via Certified ATM System (ATMs) Vide Circular No: EC/11/09/8537W
7 Rue Du La Rouge, Cotonou
Republic of Benin
Thursday 08, September 2011
To the Beneficiary
Contract Ref: ECS/28H/1745/PED11-13.
Re: Payment of Accrued Interest via Certified ATM System (ATMs) Vide Circular No: EC/11/09/8537W
Your immediate attention is hereby drawn to the circular referenced above. Please be informed that following ECOWAS Council Resolution No. EC/10023/FM48/PED-7/11, the Debt Settlement and Finance Office has been directed to liquidate the accrued interest on payment due to the contract beneficiary here above referred. Following the mandate, the accumulated interest on payment has been calculated at prevailing exchange rate to date, and valued at, one million, two hundred and eighty seven thousand, five hundred and sixty-nine point four cents (1,287,569.04) independent of withdrawal means postage.
As detailed in the prior contract agreement, the process for sequenced timely withdrawal of accrued interest via accredited ATM System have now been completed for your locality. Reconfirmation of beneficiaryâs details and receipt of statutory postage and handling charge of $139.50 will be followed by postage of universal Switch ATM Card with activating serial number; 4-digit pin code, and limit instructions). Reconfirm your secure postage address including direct contact telephone, and beneficiaries name as you would want appear on the withdrawal card to the Manager Operations, Attn: Uyi Obed, email ( firstname.lastname@example.orgÂ ).
For further information please contact the undersigned on Tel. +229-9675-8309 between 9.00am â 6.00pm (GMT).
Thank you for cooperation.
Mr. Uyi Obed
>From Manager Operations