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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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: Engr Peter <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 15:00:01 +0100
Subject: CONTACT: Mr. Tim Wright
Hello my good friend.
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family ?, You
may not understand why this mail came to you.But if you do not
remember me, you might have receive an email from me in the past
regarding a multi-million-dollar business proposal which we never
concluded. 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
I thank you for your great effort to our unfinished transfer of fund
into your account due to one reason or the other best known to you.But
I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund out
of my bank to my new partner's account in India that was capable of
assisting me in this great venture.Due to your effort,
sincerity,courage and trust worthiness You showed during the course of
the transaction.I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you
with the sum of $ 1200,000.00. I have left a certified international
bank draft for you worth of $ 1200,000.00 cashable anywhere in the
My dear friend I will like you to contact my Account Officer Mr. Tim
Wright for the collection of your bank draft. I authorized him to
release the Bank Draft to you whenever you contact him regarding for
it. At the moment, I'm very busy here because of the investment
projects, which I and the new partner are having at hand.
Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is
from the bottom of my heart, Also comply with Mr. Tim Wright
directives so that he will send the draft to you without any delay.
CONTACT: Mr. Tim Wright
Account Officer, Cotonou,
His email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number /
your correct mailing address where you want him to send the draft to
Thanks and God bless you and your family.