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:
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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: "Mrs.Elizabth George" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mrs.Elizabth George" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2014 01:46:03 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONTACT HIM TODAY FOR YOUR ATM CARD OF US$ 1,200,000.00
Good day and how are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I am using this opportunity to inform you that this multi-million-dollar business has been concluded with the assistance of another partner from India who financed the transaction to a logical conclusion. Due to your effort sincerity courage and trust worthiness You showed during the course of the transaction.I have left ATM Card for you worth of $1,200,000.00 cashable anywhere in the world.
CONTACT: Mr David Benson
Account Officer, Cotonou,
His email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
contact cell phone number:+229 99670019
Therefore you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your correct mailing address where you want him to send the ATM card to you.
Hoping to hear from you.