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:
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: franco <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2013 15:19:14 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: Central Bank of the Benin
Central Bank of the Benin (CBB)
Office Location: 1-2 Ecowas Avenue
The West Africa Monetary Agency re-called your ($5 Billion) five
Billion U.S dollars from Credit Suisse Zurich, Switzerland due to lark
of fund documentation. Now that the fund have been documented, the
central bank governor have agreed with West Africa Monetary Agency
WAMA`s director of operation to release your $5 Billion US Dollars.
The Central bank have to issue you a check, but the check have to be
cleared in one local bank here in Benin. And since you are not here in
the Benin you are required to open a non resident bank account here in
Benin under (Guaranteed Trust bank) and make sure the account is
activated. Soon as the bank account is opened on your name, activate
the account and send your account detail to Central bank for your check
to be issued and sent to the GTbank. Ones the check is cleared, your
amount will be credited into your bank account which will enable you
make withdrawals from your location.
The Central bank and WAMA have appointed barrister Jimmy Anderson to
assist you so contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org therefore
contact him immediately or call him: +229 99791580
Mrs. Fatu Jallow.
Public relation officer.
Central Bank of the Benin