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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "million us 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)
- 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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Samuel Kereku <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 12:18:52 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Kindly send me an e-mail signifying your decision.
Good Day to you and your Family,
I am Mr. Samuel Kereku personal Assistant to the Branch Manager of Bank Of Africa (BOA) Cotonou, Benin Republic.I want to inquire from you if you can handle a transaction of mutual benefits for both of us, as long as you agreed to follow my advise for us to excel and have this fund transfer to your Account.The transaction is about seeking your consent to present you as the next of kin/ beneficiary of $15.6Million Us dollars belonging to a deceased customer of the Bank where i work, I discovered that the owner of the account died without a [HEIR]Dec 26th 2003 by plane crash, hence the money is floating.
Here is the air crash website unfiltered=
When you receive this letter, Kindly send me an e-mail signifying your decision. Including your private Tel/Fax numbers for quick communication.
With My Best Regards,
Mr. Samuel Kereku
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +229 99 098 927