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:
- "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 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: "Office File" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2014 11:41:37 +0100
Subject: From U.S Embassy
Department United States
01BP 2012 Cotonou Benin Rep.
Greeting from U.S Embassy,
THIS MAIL IS ONLY FOR THE OWNER OF THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS
Please i want to inform you that your fund was brought to my desk this morning because the SECRETARY OF UNITED NATION here in Benin Republic said that they
will divert your compensation fund to the Government Treasury account just because you failed to pay for their fee of your fund which is just $120.00 usd
But i told them to wait until i hear from you today so that i will know the reason why you rejected such amount of money $1.5m which is a compensation
from United Nation and will change your life just because of $120.00 usd
I want your urgent response as soon as you receive this email and explain to me the reason why you should abandon your fund or if you don't need it then we
can change your name to another person so that the corrupt Government officials of Benin Republic will not claim this money for their selfish interest,
However if you are still interested in this funds then you fill your information below and get back to us immediately.
YOUR FULL CONTACT INFORMATION IS NEEDED.
YOUR FULL NAME:------------------------
YOUR PRIVATE PHONE NUMBER:-------------
HOME ADDRESS AND CITY--- -------------
I will wait to hear from you now through this Email ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
United States Ambassador to the Republic of Benin
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