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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "demurrage " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "million 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "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.
- 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)
- paul cotonou, cotonou, oueme, benin republic e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org dear sir, i know you will be amazed to read from me, but (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Post Net <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2016 14:34:03 -0700
Subject: Good Morning
Mrs Lizzy Ben
Rue Pope John Paul Cotonou,
Cotonou, Oueme, Benin Republic
I know you will be amazed to read from me, but please consider this
letter as a request from a widow in need of your help I am Mrs
Stephane Lizzy Ben, Wife of Late Mr. Lauren Ben Douglas, who was
recently murdered in the land dispute in Zimbabwe. I got your contact
here in Cotonou Benin Republic hence I decided to write to you. Before
the death of my Husband, he had taken me to Benin Republic to deposit
the sum of US$24Million (Twenty Four Million United States Dollars) in
one of the Private Security Company, as if he foresees the looming
danger in Zimbabwe. This money was deposited in a box as germ stones
to avoid much demurrage from the Security Company.
This amount was meant for the purchase of new machines and
establishment of a new farm in Swaziland this land problem came when
Zimbabwean President Mr. Robert Mugabe introduced a new land Act
reform which wholly affected the rich white farmers and some few black
farmers. This resulted to the killing and mob action by Zimbabwean war
veterans and some lunatics in the society In fact, a lot of people
were killed because of this land reformed Act for which my husband was
one of the victims.
It is against this back ground that, me and my two children who are
currently staying in Cotonou Benin Republic decided to transfer my
Husband's money to a foreign country since the Law of Benin Republic
Prohibits Refugees open any bank account or to be involved in any
financial transaction throughout the territorial zones of Benin
Republic. As the only matured person that is the wife, I am saddled
with the responsibility of seeking a genuine foreign account where
this money could be transferred into without the knowledge of my
government who is bent on taking everything. All I seek for is an
honest businessman, who I can entrust my future and t hat of my
family; I must also let you know that this transaction is 100% risk
free. If you accept to assist me and my family all I want from you is
for you to make arrangements and come down to Cotonou Benin Republic,
so that you can help me open a Non-Resident Account in your name which
will aid us in trans ferr ing the money into your any
I have two options for you, firstly you can choose to have certain
percentage of the money for nominating your account for this
transaction, or you can go into partnership with me for the proper
profitable Investment of the money in your country.
Whichever, the option you want, feel free to notify me, I have also
mapped out 5% of this money for all kinds of expenses we mighty
incurred in the process of this transaction If you do not prefer a
partnership I am willing to give 30% of the money while the remaining
65% will remain for my family. If you are really capable and willing
to assist me, please contact me immediately with my email address with
which I have sent you this message.
Finally, please treat this matter as urgent as possible; I 'm in dire
need to leave this country soonest.
You can contact me through my email address.
I expect your soonest response.
Mrs Lizzy Ben Family