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:
- "money gram" (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. )
- "service fee" (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. )
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "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)
- "courier service" (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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Andrew Segbeya <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 07 Nov 2013 12:48:02 +0100
Subject: Attention:American Express Credit Card
Attention:American Express Credit Card
Good day, after much stress, The Bank decided to redirect your five
hundred thousand United States Dollars to American Express Credit Card
Centre Benin Republic so that they can package the total sum into
their facility called Amex.Credit Card and send to you for us to
circumvent all governmental taxes locally and internationally..
The American Express Credit Card Centre will contact and send to you
your named Amex. Credit Card containing the five hundred thousand
United States Dollars, they will also send the four digits secret pin
code with which you can be making withdrawals from the Amex.Card.
This is to let you konw that your approved funds of $500,000.00 United
States Dollars as your
inhabitant immediately via American Express Credit Card with your
full details below:
From the card you can withdraw maximum of Thirty Thousand United
States Dollars per a day and from the card you can transfer one
hundred thousand United States Dollars to your local account per a day.
MAKE YOUR CHIOCE AND SEND THE FEES IMMEDIATELY FOR YOUR ATM CARD TO
POSTED TO YOU VIA ANY OF THIS CURRIER COMPANY AVAILABLE HERE.
Vat (10 %)............................ $55,00
Vat (10 %)........................... $55,00
Vat (10 %)........................... $55,00
It is pertinent to note that this courier charge is not negotiable and
so select any of your affordable courier service fees and send it to
this centre through Money Gram only with the name of our payroll
officer as to enable us complete
Receiver Name: SILAS O. DIMKPA
Address: 11 Rue Du Essentin
Country : Benin Republic
City : Cotonou
Purpose of payment : ..................
Test Question: FOR MY
YOU SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE THE RECIEPT OF THIS MAIL IMMEDIATELY SO THAT WE
CAN DIRECT YOU TO THE AMEX CARD CENTRE BENIN REPUBLIC
Director Of Amex Credit Card