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:
- "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 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs.Elizabth George <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 23:22:32 +0100
Subject: CONTACT HIM TODAY FOR YOUR ATM CARD OF US$ 1,200,000.00
My Dear, How are you today I hope you doing fine? I want to inform you about my success in getting those funds released under the co-operation of a new partner from India Presently I'm in India for investment projects with my own share of the total sum. Meanwhile, I did not forget your past efforts and attempts to assist me in the payment the funds despite that it failed us some how due to lack of understand and knowledge. To show that I appreciated it so much at that time.
I have kept for you a total sum of $1,200.000.00 in an ATM VISA CARD .I am pleased to inform you that ATM card Number 4848 4229 6786 6041 for the sum of US$1,200,000.00 has been credited in your favor and ready for immediate delivery to you. You are hereby required to confirm your telephone number and present address were you want the ATM card delivered to you.This is your (PIN CODE Pin-6670) of the VISA CARD and it is only the card they will be sending to you.
CONTACT: Mr David Benson
Account Officer, Cotonou,Benin Republic,
His email address:email@example.com
HOT LINE; +229 98820259
Please do let me know immediately you receive it so that we can share the joy after all the sufferer at that time. In the moment, I'm very busy here because of the investment projects which I and the new partner are having at hand, finally, remember that I had forwarded instruction to David Benson on your behalf to receive that ATM VISA CARD, so feel free to get in touch with David Benson, they will send the ATM VISA CARD to you without any delay.
Have a wonderful day.