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:
- "activation 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. )
- "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.
- +229 (Benin, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
- 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: Karl Jones <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Karl Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:50:04 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: UPS DELIVERY SERVICE
ZENITH BANK INTERNATIONALZenith Heights Plot 87 AjoseAdeogun Street,Cotonou Republic of Benin,Attn:Payment Notification,
This is to bring to your notice that,we have paid there-activation fee and the delivery of your ATM MASTER CARD.We paid it because the ATM Card Code is 8119,worth of $2.5 million.In no distant time,this card willexpire,and when it expires,the money will go into Government purse.
With that,we decided to help you pay the money so that theATM Card will not expire that soon,because we know that when you getyour ATM Card definitely you must pay us back our money andeven compensate us for helping you.
Now we want you to contact UPS DELIVERY SERVICE with yourFull Contact information's so that they can deliver yourCard to your designated address without any delay. Like westated earlier,The delivery charges has been paid but we did not payÂ their official keeping fees since they refused.
And the reason is that they do not know whenyou are going to contact them and the dumorage might haveincrease. They said that their keeping fees is $100 USD perday and we deposited it on 4th of Nov 2014.Callthem as soon as you receive this mail.Below is their Contact Information's,
Contact Person: Mr.karl JonesUPS DELIVERY SERVICEEmail:(email@example.com)
Contact then Today to avoid increase of your keeping fees,and let me know once you receive your CardE-mail:(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr.Smith DayeATM OFFICE ZENITH BANK INTERNATIONALTelephone: +229_68162117Regards.