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:
- "00,000.00" (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)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Jean Francis Zinsou" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2012 12:47:31 +0300
Subject: Yours Faithfully, Jean-Francis .R. Zinsou
Greetings Dear, The UNITED NATIONS IN Affiliation with HSBC BANK have
agreed to compensate you with the sum of US$1,200,000.00, for self
support. This is regarding the draws he organized before he left the
office to help individual town and Unemployment Benefits also to help
the less privileged children and We have been trying to reach you all
This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their
contract, inheritance sum, and people that have had an unfinished
transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government
problems and the World financial Crisis etc. We found your name in the
list of those who are to benefit from this compensation exercise and that
is why we are contacting you.
Now We are contacting you to let you know that An ATM CARD worth $1.2 US
Dollars Has been programmed in your name for your compensation and all
the necessary arrangement of delivering the ATM CARD has been made with
SKYLINE COURIER/SECURITY COMPANY Benin Republic. We did it this way so
that it will be easy for you to receive your Fund.
Contact them with Your Full Receiving Information such as....
Your Name,Address, Phone number/ID Card
Registration Reference No of the Package FDXB/xxx/100
Jean-Francis .R. Zinsou
Permanent Representative to the United Nations