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:
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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)
- 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: Davis Mark <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Davis Mark <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2015 17:19:04 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Re: RENAISSANCE PAYMENT OPTIONS.
Order No: FEC/IMFFI231282.
received Instructions from the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Federal
Executive Council of the Republic of Benin . According to
information at our disposal, your payment was revalidated after the recent
foreign debt reappraisal conducted by the senate in conjunction with the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) in which a debt buy back agreement was reached by the
government of Benin Republic and our establishment. This resolution was made
following series of allegations from foreign beneficiaries that they had been
swindled by some hoodlums of their hard earned money running into thousands of
to curtail this trend, it was resolved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to
make your payment through a separate financial institution that is not Central
Bank of Benin
because of some inherent financial difficulties made possible by the statutory
provision regulating the functions of Central Banks in matters of retail
banking. Our payment procedure will be through interswitch Multi-linked configured
Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Card System. The procedure involves loaded ATM
card in your favor which would enable you to access and discount your funds
through any ATM machine point any where in the world.
back arrangement with the Federal executive council and the IMF entitle you to
part payment (compensation) of the sum Ten million five hundred thousand United States
dollars (US$10,500,000.00) only via interswitch ATM Card. Consequently, we
require you to confirm and forward all your necessary personal detail and
evidence of this payment claim to us to certify that we have reached the bona
Mr. Davis Mark