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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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: "Consular office dept" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:00:04 +0100
Subject: Your unpaid fund $11Million!!!
MESSAGE FROM INTERNATIONAL MONITORY FUND UNIT
BRANCH ADDRESS: 59 ADEKUNLE FAJUYI ROAD A, MOKOLA COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC.
Your email was found in the central computer among the list of unpaid lotto prize compensation fund and next of kin beneficiaries that was originated from Americans, Europe, Asia, plus Middle East, among the list of individuals and companies.
You are among the beneficiaries who will receive a contractual sum of $11Million and it has been approved for months through international ATM card pay system.
For more direction and instruction on how to receive your ATM card, kindly contact the shipping office for the delivery of your ATM card to your home address with below needed details; Your full name,home address,country,cell phone Number,nearest airport:
Name: Mr. John Harrison
Tel: +229 686 70 140
I apologize to you on behalf of IMF (International Monitory Fund) for failure to pay your funds in time, which according to records in the system had been long overdue.
MR. STEVEN R. DUKE.
DIRECTOR, WORLD DEBT RECONCILIATION AGENCIES