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:
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "prueba" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 07:33:08 -0400
Subject: To the Beneficiary! Payment Now in visa-card
Debt Settlement and Finance
Office of the Commissioner,ECOWAS Sub-Headquarters
7 Rue Du La Rouge, Cotonou.Republic of Benin.
Attention Please! Your Honesty Payment Now in visa-card
I obtained your contact through the secret database of foreigners who are owed
vast sums of money by the Government, the Central Bank and by individual Banks and
I have put in place a system to pay you immediately without request for
UPFRONT fees or charges from you. This is important because having been
disappointed in the past,I know you will not cooperate if upfront fees are
involved in this transaction. THE ONLY THING I REQUIRE FROM YOU IS COMPLETE
SECRECY AND CONFIDENTIALITY! YOU MUST NOT DIVULGE THIS PLAN TO ANY ONE, EVEN
YOUR PARTNERS.I will not want interference from any other level, however well
intentioned. The integrity of my plan must be
protected at all times until you receive the money.
Therefore please keep faith with me, this money sum of $2.5Million will be
transfer to you through an Atm card. I will do this VIA the Uba Africard
Visa-Card ATM Cashing Card and in full compliance with the Patriot Act. I
will request as my compensation 10% of the transferred fund, to be paid to me
within 1 week of confirmation of your fund in the atm card.
You shall reconfirm the following information listed below for them to
commence as soon as possible.
1. Your Full Name:
2. Your Age and Occupation:
3. Marital Status:
4. Direct Telephone/Fax Number:
5. Home and Office Address:
Kindly contact with the Regional Director,
Attn: Mr.David Hodonou.
The ATM Card centre,Uba Africard vc .
Cotonou, Benin Republic
E-mail:( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Finally. the ATM can be sent to you in two ways; One, by ordinary express
mail; This method will take from 2 weeks to a month to reach you but it is
NOT GUARANTEED! It is risky in that- the ATM could be stolen at any point in
its movement to your address! Especially in the corrupt post Office system of
Republic Du Benin here ...This method is NOT recommended except as a last
resort. The second method is by DHL courier service, and it is safe,
guaranteed and fast; the ATM card will get to you in 4/5 days, so you will
provide your DHL account to the MR.David Hodonou to use on dhl for delivering
the card to you.
Mr.Ibeh John Llb Hons
Debt Settlement and Finance
UNITED NATION/ECOWAS Sub-Headquarters