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:
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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: Carlson Smith <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Carlson Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2014 19:47:07 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Your ATM Visa Card Was Discovered In Post Office.
Your ATM Visa Card Was Discovered In Post Office.
Iâm the new appointed Postman of Regular Mail Post Office branched at Cotonou Benin. I assumed this office on 12th, May, 2014. On going through the files of the previous records of this office, I discovered that there are six parcels containing ATM cards each one attached with an email address of the owner on it. The former appointee of this office (Alhaji Ahmed Musa Jr.) failed to carry out the delivery as it was instructed and programmed. Probably, one of his reasons for not carrying out the delivery was that you have not provided your postal address to him for the completion of the delivery as he remarked.Â
According to the content recorded in each file, the ATM card was deposited by one Senior Evangelist Mathew Peterson who died one year back as a charity foundation parcel to each of the six of you. On the statement he wrote on the list, he stated that each of the aforementioned ATM cards contains the sum of US$2,550,000.00 and he found your email contacts as reputable and capable persons that can use the charity awarded ATM Cards to change the lives of people.
Meanwhile, I've made the arrangement of posting the six parcels through Regular Mail Post Office to the six of you to your respective mailing addresses.
Am also sending the same message of the same content to six of you that own the six abandoned ATM CARDS each at the same time. If found in spam folder, it could be due to your Internet Service Provider, ISP. So move to your inbox before your reply.
I went to our head office at Cotonou Benin and reported the issue of the discovered six ATM cards in my office and they verified it and gave me the veto order to carry out the delivery immediately you reconfirm your mailing address to this office in order for us to mail the ATM CARD directly to you after Postal Stamp of the parcel. Note, below information is officially needed for posting of the CARD ASAP.
Full mailing info:
Your cell phone line:
We shall post your ATM Card once you update us with the above info and you shall be given a tracking number, that is, the Track and Trace number of your parcel once it is posted to your mailing address, so as to enable you track your parcel to know exactly when it will arrive to your mailing address.
Remain blessed as I'll be looking forward to receiving your immediate response.
Mr. Carlson Smith,
Office Phone: +229 98327556
Postman, Regular Mail Post Office Cotonou Benin.