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:
- "million us 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)
- "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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Fatu Jallow" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mrs. Fatu Jallow" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2013 13:48:44 +0800 (CST)
Subject: Central Bank of the Benin (CBB)
Central Bank of the Benin (CBB)
Office Location: 1-2 Ecowas Avenue
West Africa Monetary Agency re-called your ($5 Million) five Million
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 Million US Dollars.
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
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