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:
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: mralexaku aku <email@example.com>
Reply-To: mralexaku aku <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:01:39 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONFIRM THIS TO ME FAST!!!!
Â EPUBLIC OF BENINÂ Mr.Alex Soulman.MINISTER OF FINANCE(MOF)OPERATIONAL TOWERS;8/10CARRIER CRESCENT,COTONOU.BENIN REPUBLIC.HOT-LINE(00229)98-68-32-66EMAIL;email@example.comATTN: Sir/Madam.
I am;ALHAJI AHMED HUSSEIN, minister of finance (M.A.R),I monitor offices and control the affairs of all banks and financial institutions in Benin republic concerned foreign contract payments. I am the final signatory to all foreign transfers of huge funds moving within banks both the local and international levels in line to foreign contracts settlement. I have before me the list of foreign contract payment files, which are due to be transferred to their nominated accounts.Â Meanwhile, we identified some of these accounts to be ghost accounts, unclaimed deposits and over invoiced sum etc. I wish to have a deal with you as regards to the unpaid fund. I have a file before me and hope the date's are correct and UN-tampered. As it is my duty to recommend the transfer of these surplus fund to the Federal Government Treasury and Reserve Accounts as unclaimed deposit. I have the opportunity to write you based on the instruction I received two days ago from the senate committee on contract payment/foreign debts to submit the list of payment reports expenditures and audited reports of revenues. Among several others, I have decided to remit the total sum of USD15.2 million following the idea that we have a deal/agreement and I am going to per fact the paperwork legally.MY CONDITIONS1.You will have to provide foreign account where the funds will be transferred.2.This deal must be kept secret forever, and all correspondence will be strictly by private email /telephone for security purposes.3.There should be no other third parties as most problems associated with such payments are caused by their agents or representatives. If you AGREE with my Conditions, contact me directly through this email address;(firstname.lastname@example.org) will advise you on the next line of action and immediately the funds transfer will commence without further delay as I would proceed to fix your name on the payment schedule instantly within the next 5 working days.
NOTE:DUE TO THE HIGH RATES OF INTERNET SCANNERS,IF YOU ARE REPLYING TO THIS EMAIL,DO WRITE "YOUR BROTHER" AT THE SUBJECT OF YOUR REPLY ,THAT SERVES AS OUR SECRET CODE FOR THIS TRANSACTION,BECAUSE I DO NOT WANT YOU TO FALL VICTIM OF ANY CIRCUMSTANCESÂ THANKSYOURS FAITHFULLYMr.Alex Soulman