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:
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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: "MRS.GRACE BOYI" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "MRS.GRACE BOYI" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2012 18:37:48 +0100 (BST)
Subject: FROM MRS.GRACE BOYI, PLEASE RECEIVE THIS FUND IN YOUR ACCOUNT FOR THE HELP OF THE POOR IN THE SOCIETY.
My Dear Good Friend
I crave your indulgence at this mail coming from somebody like me, whom you do not know before. I decided to do this after praying over my present situation. You should please consider the transaction on its content and not the fact that you have not known me before. I need not dwell on how I came by your contact information because there are many such possibilities these days. I would like to introduce myself as MRS.GRACE BOYI, from Republic of Benin in West Africa, a widow to Late MR.DAVID BOYI a former Consular of the Benin Embassy.
I have recently been diagnosed of Cancer of the Pelvic and attending my medical treatment at St Victoria Private Clinic here in Benin Republic. I am writing to you now from my sick bed because of how this transfer is urgent to me. There is US$18.5 (Eighteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) my husband has in an account with the AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK here in Cotonou Benin Republic, of which I am the next of kin.
With my health condition and because my husband and I have no children, I am looking for a credible person that will not betrayed me whom i will pass the right of next of kin. This person will apply to the bank and request for an immediate release of the fund to his/her bank account. This is on the condition that you will take only 30% of the fund for yourself, 10% used for expenses, while you will use the remaining 60% for the less privilege people in the society.
I will issue you my late husband STANDING ORDER WILL which he wrote and deposited a copy to the bank before he died which my appointed next of kin have to present a copy to the bank as the real appointed person before the bank will release the fund into his account, which i promise to issue you a copy of the STANDING ORDER WILL to proceed for the release of the fund, not only that, my late husband have already prepared all the necessary document which are needed on the time of transfer and is now with the African development Bank such as CERTIFICATE OF OWNERSHIP OF THE FUND and CERTIFICATE OF THE FUND ORIGIN which the bank will release to you according to my late husband instruction as soon as you have contact the bank for the fund release.
This is in fulfillment of the last request of my husband: that a substantial part of the fund be used to carter for the less privileged. If this condition is acceptable to you, you should get back to me immediately with your full names and contact information as indicated below so that i will use your contact to write to my bank here immediately to inform them that my appointed next of kin will contact them for an immediate release of the fund so that they will be ready waiting for you to contact them.
I will also ask our family lawyer to prepare an authorization letter that will give you the right of next of kin to the deposited fund with the bank. I will also give you a letter of release which you will fill and send to the bank for the release of the fund. I cannot predict what will be my fate by the time the fund will be transferred into your account, but you should please ensure that the fund is used as i have described above.
Kindly send your information immediately as stated below and call me through my private doctor on his direct telephone number so that he will inform me that you have send me the information for further process, this is because I cannot be able to speak on phone at this time due to my present condition at this time. I have let him know everything about this project as he will assist you here for the transfer process; His number is +22996280414 or contacts me on my private email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Your Full Name/ Full Address
2. Your Age/ Sex
3. Your Marital Status
4. Your Occupation
5. Your Mobile Numbers
Thank you and May God bless you.