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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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: "Mr.Stephen Adams" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2012 19:45:08 -0400
Subject: Please confirm this to me fast if I can trust you!!!
My dear friend,
I know this will come to you as a surprise because you do not know me I am Mr. Stephen Adams I work in the Eco-bank Cotonou Benin republic of west Africa, auditing and accounting department I got your contact in my search for a honest person through one of my colleagues here in the Eco-bank who said that I can confidence in you I want you to help me clear this safe box that is already in overseas which I shipped through our Eco-bank accredited security company agent but the contents of the box is ($2,Million united state dollars) all in $100.00 bills, belonging to our Bank late customer who died earlier this year in a tanker fire clash along with his wife and four children they were involved in Benin petrol tanker explosion incident as people were siphoning petrol the explosion result lost of life killing at least 54 people and many injured including my client and his entire family as they where driving home for weekend stopping on visiting their site where people were siphoning petrol the tanker caught fir
After these several unsuccessful attempts I decided to locate any member of his family and I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by the deceased before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the security company in Amsterdam Netherlands these huge deposits were lodged particularly with an affiliate security company in Amsterdam Netherlands where the deceased deposited the $2 million Dollars as African Treasury so the security company did not know the content of the Safe Box because our Bank late client deposited the box as African Treasury so right now the security company in Amsterdam Netherlands has issued a notice to provide the next of kin or have the Safe Box confiscated and since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for Months now 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 security company in Amsterdam Netherlands will proceeds the delivery of the Safe Box that
All I want you to do for me now is to forward to me this below Informations to me if this arrangement is okay by you reconfirm your delivery information for the delivery of the box such as,
Your full name?
Your home address?
Your direct telephone number?
Please email me at ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) for security reasons other modalities will be discussed as soon as you get back to me including sending you the safe box code numbers to open it note that our communication should be strictly through e-mail or phone for security reasons.
Mr. Stephen Adams.
E-mail; ( email@example.com )