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:
- "consignment " (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 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Desmond Novia." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:04:17 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: FROM UNITED NATION ORGANIZATION AFRICAN HEAD QUARTERS.
UNITED NATION ORGANIZATION AFRICAN
HEAD QUARTERS. DEBT MANAGEMENT
OFFICE NO.5/8 TOKPA STATE BUILDING
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC.
Tel/Fax: +229 9610 6714 OUR REF: WB/NF/UN/XXO27
Your Urgent Attention; Our Ref: WB/NF/UN/XX027 ,
Due to the petitions received by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon from all over the continent in regards to the fraudulent activities going on in the West Africa sub-region with security's agent and diplomats who has been delaying people's funds, consignment and valuables in their custody and demand out-outrageous fees to get their consignment released to them.
However,( Mr.Ban Ki-moon ) who is the UNITED NATION Secretary-General came to the African head quarters in COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC on the 15TH JULY 2007 and set up this committee with sole aim of settling all these anomalies and due to that we are contacting you today regards to your consignment box we discovered, The UNRC West Africa zone has its Annex office in COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC and I Dr Barry Favour was duly appointed chairman to oversee the delivery/handing over of consignment to its owners.
It has come to our knowledge just this morning when we took the security companies and diplomat in COTONOU (BENIN REPUBLIC),LAGOS (NIGERIA) AND ACCRA (GHANA) INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT and recovered consignments which one is bearing your name and contacts of your full information with which we are reaching you. Nevertheless reconfirm your name, address and correct phone number to us.
Note: that so far so good we have satisfied sixteen of our clients, six of them in the United States, Three in Australia, Two in France, One in India and One in Fiji and Three in Switzerland. We will only deliver to you on UNRC conditions as follows: (1) 5% to Charity home of your choice which the UNRC will be signatory to (2) 5% to Tsunami Victims (3) 5% to United Nations which will be paid to UN HEADQUARTER in NEW-YORK .
Be informed that we will only accept your response by telephone or through this new email ( email@example.com ) , Any further delay will be the pleasure of the UNRC to use your fund to help the people who have been displaced in Darfur, Sudan Africa which you can see it in this site www.savedarfur.org and the Tsunami's victims in Asia.
We are working according to the constitution binding this committee as well as helping the less privilege through this means. You will be required to reach us via telephone or email ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Waiting to hear from you ASAP.
Dr. Desmond Novia
UNITED NATION ORGANIZATION AFRICANHEAD QUARTERS. Dr. Desmond Novia,