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:
- "huge deposit" (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 next of kin scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Michel Dago ESQ" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2015 00.03.54 +0100
Subject: Re: Urgent Attention Needed
How are you, I hope my message meets you in good health?
I am Mr Michel Dago, Esq a solicitor at law, and personal attorney to Late. Mr. Tupel Thomas (French Nationale), who was a Contractor, and Business mogul here in Benin Republic before his untimely demise. Here in after shall be referred to as my client. On the 21st of April 2010, my client, his wife and their only son were involved in a car accident along Cotonou-Seme Boarder express road all occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.
I am contacting you to assist in repatriating the money and estate left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared un-serviceable by the bank where this huge deposit were lodged. Since then I have made several enquiries to your France embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you.
I guarantee that this deal will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.
Please get in touch with me by my alternative email: firstname.lastname@example.org and send to me your 1.Full names, 2. Complete
Address 3.Telephone and fax numbers.
You can equally call me on my telephone number: +22965824841 to enable us discuss further about this transaction.
Michel Dago, Esq