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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "the consignment" (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)
- "consignment " (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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "courier company" (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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" 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: "Mrs. Douglas Smith" <DouglasSmith@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 20:26:49 +1000
Subject: MY GOOD FRIEND
MY GOOD FRIEND, GOOD DAY, HOW ARE YOU TODAY? I AM WRITING TO INFORM YOU
THAT I HAVE PAID THE FEE FOR YOUR CHEQUE DRAFT. AND I WENT TO THE BANK TO
CONFIRM IF THE CHEQUE HAS EXPIRED OR GETTING NEAR TO EXPIRE AND MR.AHMED
ZAFA THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL TRUST BANK TOLD ME THAT BEFORE THE CHEQUE
WILL GET TO YOUR HAND THAT
IT WILL EXPIRE.
SO I TOLD HIM TO CASH THE $4.500,000.00 USD UNITED STATES DOLLARS TO CASH
PAYMENT TO AVOID LOSTING THIS FUNDS.HOWEVER, ALL THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENT
OF DELIVERING THE $4.500,000.00 USD UNITED STATES DOLLARS IN CASH WAS MADE
WITH FEDEXCOURIER COMPANY LTD HERE IN COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC, MR.AHMED
THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL TRUST
BANK COTONOU HAVE TO PACKAGE THE SUM OF $4.500,000.00 USD IN CASH FOR ME.
THEN HE ALSO AGREED TO HELP ME TO REGISTER THE CONSIGNMENT WITH FEDEX
COURIER COMPANY. IN FACT I THANK GOD VERY MUCH FOR ALL THE MOVEMENT I
EVERY THING GOES NORMALLY.
AS FOR OUR AGREEMENT WITH THE FEDEX COURIER COMPANY THEY PROMISED THAT
CONSIGNMENT WILL LEAVE THIS COUNTRY THIS WEEK,BUT THE DIRECTOR OF THE
COURIER COMPANY SAID THAT THEY NEED YOUR CONTACTS INFORMATION'S TO ENABLE
THEM MEET UP WITH YOU IMMEDIATELY THE DIPLOMAT AGENT ARRIVED TO OUR
COUNTRY.PLEASE WRITE A
LETTER OF APPLICATION TO THE GIVEN ADDRESS BELOW.
ATTN: DR.JERRY COOK
PLEASE, SEND THEM YOUR CONTACTS INFORMATION TO ENABLE THEM LOCATE YOU
IMMEDIATELY THEY ARRIVED IN YOUR COUNTRY WITH YOUR BOX .THIS IS WHAT THEY
NEED FROM YOU.
1.YOUR FULL NAME.
2.YOUR HOME ADDRESS.
3.YOUR CURRENT HOME TELEPHONE NUMBER.
4.YOUR CURRENT OFFICE TELEPHONE.
5.A COPY OF YOUR PICTURE.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SEND THIS NEEDED INFORMATION TO THE DIRECTOR
GENERAL OF FEDEX COURIER COMPANY DR. JERRY COOK WITH THE ADDRESS GIVEN
NOTE THE FEDEX COURIER COMPANY DON'T KNOW THE CONTENTS OF THE BOX I
REGISTERED IT AS A BOX OF AN AFRICA CLOTHS,THEY DON'T KNOW IT CONTENTS
MONEY, THIS IS TO AVOID THEM DELAYING WITH THE BOX. DON'T LET THEM KNOW
THAT IS MONEY THAT IS IN THAT BOX.I AM
WAITING FOR YOUR URGENT RESPONSE. YOU CAN EVEN CALL THE DIRECTOR OF
FEDEX COURIER COMPANY WITH THIS TELEPHONE LINE: +229-99710111.
THANKS AND REMAIN BLESSED,
MRS. DOUGLAS SMITH