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:
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Patrick Mbote <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2012 08:58:54 +0000
Subject: Respond Urgently/Call Me
Compliment of the day,
In other to transfer to overseas a huge sum of amount to your country from Universal Bank of Commerce Benin Cotonou, Benin Republic.
No one know of this and i decided to convert it to be a personal deal between me and you. I know you do not know me as we have never meet before and it might sound strange but if you can handle this, what I want you to do is:
(1). stand as the Beneficiary to claim the funds.
(2). Receive the funds into your business or private bank account.( An empty account can be Ok)
If my offer is of no appeal to you delete it and forget I ever contacted you, if not get back to me on firstname.lastname@example.org or +229 97 55 94 03.
Awaiting your reply,
Patrick Mbote (Mr)
Tel: +229 97 55 94 03