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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "my direct line" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "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)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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: chinaka <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 00:37:45 +0100 (BST)
Subject: ECO BANK PLC DU BENIN (DBB).INTERNATIONAL
HEAD QUARTERS TOPKA COTONOUFROM THE DESK OF:
Prof. Godwin Hubert Governor & Board Chairman DBB
A/C#: 329601=101245=169=679 BOE
PAYMENT REF: CBN-UBA/IRD/CBX/021/07-08
Attention Beneficiary ,
With respect to the provision SECTION 17 of decree 114 of the 1999 constitution, I am directed to inform you that your payment verification and confirmations is OK, Therefore, we are happy to inform you that arrangements has been concluded to effect your payment of your ATM MASTER CARD worth of ($3.500.000.00 Million USD) which depossited and intructed by the Fedral Minister of Finance Contractor Foreign Remitance Benin Republic to be deliver to you as a beneficiary.
As soon as possible in our bid to Be transparent in line with programme of the present administration of Chief .Dr.Yayi Boni, President and Commander - chief Of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Benin in his crusade agaianst corruption in Benin .
It is our pleasure to inform you that ATM Card Number; 6526 0512 1822 5107 has been approved and upgraded in your favour this morning. Your Secret PIN Number is 7316. The ATM Card Value is $3.5 Million USD Only.You are advised that a maximum withdrawal value of $10.000.00 USD is permitted for withdrawal per day and we are duly inter-switched and you can make withdrawal in any location of the ATM Center of your choice/nearest to you.
We have also concluded delivery arrangement with our accredited courier service Company to be fully insured by Nicon Insurance Corporation to oversee the delivery of the ATM Card to you without any further delay. In view of this development.
Be informed that the delivery will be made to your address: within 48 hours of our reconfirmation of your full address and phone number.
Your Full Name........
A copy of your ID.........
Forward your information to the below email address for the immediate release of your ATM CARD
Contact Person Prof. Godwin Hubert
CONTACT Email; Direct line +22999092682
Treat as very urgent, as we also remind you once again that your ATM Card is ready.
Prof. Godwin Hubert (Board Chairman)
Director of ATM/ Telex ECO BANK PLC of Benin (DBB)
CONTACT Email; email@example.com
My direct line