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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: From united state postal service <WWW.@woody.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: From united state postal service <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016 07:33:51 +0900 (JST)
Subject: YOUR COMPENSATION CHECK
This EMAIL IS FROM UNITED STATE POSTAL SERVICE(U.S.P.S),WE SINCERELY APOLOGIES FOR SENDING YOU THIS SENSITIVE INFORMATION VIA EMAIL INSTEAD OF CERTIFIED, POST-MAIL PHONE OR FACE TO FACE CONVERSATION, ITS DUE TO THE URGENCY AND IMPORTANCE OF THE SECURITY INFORMATION TO OUR CITIZEN. I AM MR BROWN (U.S.P.S) AGENT, I WRITE TO BRING TO YOUR NOTICE ABOUT A BANK CHECK DRAFT WHICH WAS MAILED TO US BY UNITED STATE EMBASSY IN COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC, WRITTEN TO BE YOUR SCAM VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND FROM GOVERNMENT OF BENIN REPUBLIC.
THE CHECK WAS ELEVEN IN NUMBERS, IN THE AMOUNT OF $2MILLION USD EACH WHICH WILL BE MAIL TO THE SCAM VICTIMS. YOU ARE RECEIVING THIS EMAIL BECAUSE YOUR NAME/ EMAIL ADDRESS WAS AMONG THE LISTED BENEFICIARY TO RECEIVE THIS COMPENSATION FUND.
TO CLARIFY THAT YOU ARE THE RIGHTFUL PERSON, PLEASE GET BACK TO US VIA TEXT MESSAGE WITH THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION.
YOUR NEAREST AIRPORT.
YOUR MAILING ADDRESS/ HOME ADDRESS
YOUR MOBILE NUMBER.
AS SOON AS YOU GET BACK TO US WITH THE INFORMATION, WE WILL CHECK IT WITH THE ONE WE ARE HAVING HERE IN OUR CUSTODY TO ENSURE ITS EXACTLY THE SAME. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE, BUT IT IS FOR SECURITY PURPOSE AND TO AVOID WRONG CLAIM OR WRONG DELIVERY.
WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO RECEIVE YOUR RESPONDS VIA TEXT MESSAGE OR EMAIL.
TEXT MESSAGE VIA: +1 (202) 844-0521
THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.UNDERSTANDING.
IN SERVICE WITH (U.S.P.S)