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:
- 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 united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: wes union <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 14:15:18 +0000
Subject: Attention: ATM CARD Beneficiary,
Attention: ATM CARD Beneficiary,
I have contacted my secretary in Cotonou Benin Republic to confirmif you have received the compensation draft cheque of ($4.5 ) Million united state dollars.which I issued in your name, but he told me that he could not send it to youbecause of the delivery charges.
Now I have called my Bank to cancel any payment regards to the draftcheque and then authorized them to transfer the payment into ATM CARDin your name which they did. As of now be informed that I paid all thecharges except the DELIVERY CHARGE, the ATM CARD is going to be in yourname, but to reactivate the ATM Card you have to forward your currentinformations as requested below to Dr. Omar Ahmed he will help to activateyour ATM CARD and send it to you immediately.
Here are the informations you have to forward to Dr. Omar Ahmed:1. YOUR FULL NAMES: ______2. POSTAL ADDRESS: _______3. PHONE NUMBER: ________4. EMAIL ADDRESS: ____6. SEX & AGE____7. OCCUPATION: ________8. COPY OF YOUR ID CARD ________
Contact Dr. Omar Ahmed with below information,
Contact Person: Dr. Omar AhmedPhone: +229 684 882 88E-mail :( firstname.lastname@example.org )
I HERE BY ISSUED YOU THE CODE OF THEIR CONDUCT, WHICH IS (ATM-8009) SOmake sure you INDICATE THIS CODE WHEN CONTACTING DR.OMAR AHMEDBY USING IT AS YOUR SUBJECT.
Get back to me once you received the ATM CARD.
Thanks and God bless you.RegardMr. S.M Tune