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:
- 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:
- "mtcn" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR FRANK H. JAMES" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2013 02:31:55 -0700
Subject: ****SPAM**** GOOD DAY I AM DIPLOMAT MR JIMMY DONE FROM BENIN REPUBLIC .
GOOD DAY I AM DIPLOMAT MR JIMMY DONE FROM BENIN REPUBLIC .
HOW IS EVERYTHING AND YOUR FAMILY IS NOW OVER TOO WEEKS THAT I HAVE
BEEN WITH U.S.A CUSTOMS WHERE I WAS ARRESTED THAT I DO NOT HAVE A
DELIVERY CLEARANCE PAPER AT MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL AIR PORT (MLB)
FLORIDA U.S.A BUT I THANK GOD THAT THEY HAVE RELEASED ME TODAY WITH
YOUR PACKAGE WORTH THE SUM OF $10.5MILLION U.S.A DOLLARS BUT THEY
NEVER KNOW THAT IT CONTENTS LARGE AMOUNT OF MONEY.
SO IT IS THIS MORNING THAT THEY RELEASED ME WITH YOUR FUNDS.YOU ADVICE
TO RECONFIRM TO ME YOUR DETAILS YOU KNOW I LOST THEM DURING WHEN I WAS
DRAGGING YOUR PACKAGE WITH SOME IMMIGRATION OFFICER HERE.
AND AGAIN YOU HAVE TO PAY THE SUM OF $66.00 FOR AIR WAY BILL PAPERS
THEY SAID THAT IF I DID NOT HAVE IT THAT I WILL NOT ENTER FLIGHT TO
YOUR OR TAXI SO SEND THE FEES TO BENIN REPUBLIC WHERE I CAN FROM THEY
WILL GET THE AIR WAY BILL ASAP AND FORWARD TO ME HERE AND IT WILL NOT
TAKE MORE THAN 5/HRS OR 7/HRS I WILL GET TO YOUR HOME ONCE YOU SEND
HERE IS THE INFORMATION TO SEND IT.
RECEIVERS NAME EDWIN UDE.
COUNTRY BENIN REPUBLIC .
CITY COTONOU .
TXQ HOW LONG.
ANSWER 5 HRS DELIVERY.
PLEASE CALL MY DIRECTOR NOW NAME MR FRANK H. JAMES // NO +229-68 -623 -499
PLEASE IT IS THIS MORNING THAT THEY HAVE RELEASED ME AND I DO NOT WANT
TO TAKE ANY MORE LONG HERE AND I WILL DELIVER YOUR FUNDS IN 5 HRS TIME
ONCE YOU SEND THE FEES TO THE MAN IN CHARGE.DO THAT FAST SO THAT THEY
CAN NOT LOOK OVER THIS PACKAGE TO KNOW THE CONTENTS,
MR JIMMY DONE