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:
- "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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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: "United Nations" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:08:19 +0100
Subject: Dear Beneficiary
United Nations Assisted Program
Directorate of International Payment
United Nations Liaison Office
The United Nations in Affiliation with Bank Of Africa has deposited your Over-due payment of US$1,200,000.00, with Sky Courier Service Benin Republic, This is regarding the draws the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon organized on his visit to Benin last Month to help individuals/Scam victims and charity organization, Your name was listed among those who are to benefit from these compensation exercise
The Skyline Courier Service will send you an International Swift ATM Card that has been approved in your Name with Card Number :8401236451206112, Registration Reference No:FDXB/xxx/100. Contact Mr. Obia Ginter (firstname.lastname@example.org) Phone +229-9969-1328 The Director Sky Line Delivering Company Benin Republic for immediate delivery.
Send to him this mentioned details
.4.A scanned copy of your ID or passport.
Jean Francis Zinsou
Permanent Representative to the United Nations