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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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 (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Chief Judge Thimo Musanya <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 07:16:50 +0800 (CST)
Subject: IMMEDIATE ANSWER AND ACTION NEEDED
MARGIN-TOP: 5px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 5px
MARGIN-TOP: 5px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 5px
FROM HIGH COURT OF ECOWAS RB BRANCH:
B/OP/1234 PLOT AKPAKPA,
COTONOU BENIN REP.
OUR REF.CODE: BSEL/773/AWN/021/09
dear the entire High Court Of Ecowas Benin Republic are here to make it clear to
you that there was a case that has been handling in this ECO-WAS Court since
January 5th,2013,concerning your award winning/inheritance payments ,total sum
of $10,500,000.00 because we got some reports that you did not received your
funds since after every storys you heard from banks ,couriers and agents
regarding the funds and all type of payments you have paid to receive the funds
but none is received by you.
And we are hereby to know the truth because
the person that is incharge of the transaction said in this court here that you
have received your funds and confirmed to him that you received your funds as
Please we are here to hear the truth from you, because acording
to the president of this country Dr.Yayi Boni, he told us that you did not
receive your funds since last year , he stated that his office did not have your
name in file of those who received their inheritance funds from benin
Please here bellow is what we want you to answer to enable us
to handle this case normal as the reporter said that it has been done to
(1) Do you receive any money from Africa. . . . . . ?.
(2) If you
received money from him, how much. . . . . . .?
(3) Through which way, bank
or courier do you received the money from. . . . .?
(4) Is it true that you
receieved money through Courier. . . .?
(5) In which date or year. . . . . .
. . . . . .?
(6) Which authirity approve the file . . . . . . . . .
Please we advise you to go direct to this question above and answer us
immediately because we want to get the truth from you.
Base on the issue,
this time if you don't receive your funds, you will receive it according to the
instruction of this High Court Of Ecowas Benin Republic after our verrifications
because we have been receiving news from your Government that our Government
officials and personalities were scamming people of your Country and that is
what we are going to handle at once and we need your reply so that we can get
But please the truth and sincerity is what we required from
you because you must prove to us by forwarding the emails and names and contacts
phone of those peoples who scamed you before,,, for the evidence, as we promise
to trace them through Our real Federal Police interpol..
More so forward
your full details Below to enable us handle the case normal.
Copy of your ID card Or Driver
We wait to hear from you soon.Best
Chief Judge Thimo Musanya
FROM HIGH COURT BENIN
call me on