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:
- "necessary legal documents" (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. )
- "huge deposit" (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)
- "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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: Avocat Sadikou Issa Aremou <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2012 10:49:34 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Groot Annemieke
Avocat Sadikou Issa Aremou
01 BP 4424 Cotonou Littoral
Benin Republic, West Africa.
Telephone: +229 99027484
Attn: Groot ,
I am attorney to Late Dr.Michael Groot , a national of your country and a former Director (SOBEGI BENIN) an Oil & Petroleum distribution company base in Benin Republic West Africa, Here in after shall be referred to as my client.
On 6th October, 2010, my client died at Saint Thomas Hospital Cotonou as a result of the Benin Flood which claims 57 lives and 710,000 peoples were seriously affected. The same disaster took away the life of his only son and wife on 28th September.
Read more details about the Benin Flood on this web:
After several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives proved unsuccessful. I track his last name over the Internet, hence I contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank here. These huge deposits were lodged particularly, with the "BANK OF COMMERCE BENIN (BCB)" An affiliate of Commercial Bank of Africa where the Deceased had an account valued at about $14.5 million dollars.
The Bank has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you have the same last name so that the proceeds of this account valued at $14.5 million dollars can be paid to you and then you and me can share the money 50% to me and 50% to you. All necessary legal documents to back up this claim are available. Your honest cooperation to enable us achieve this project is required.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. I will need the following information from you to achieve this is;
Your full Name, Address, Age, Occupation, Phone number.
I await your urgent reply then I will give you more details.
Avocat Sadikou Issa Aremou.