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:
- "required fee " (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. )
- "service fee" (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 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)
- "ecowas " (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.
Fraud email example:
From: Godwin Emera <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Godwin Emera <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2016 02:14:57 +0200 (SAST)
Subject: From United States Former Ambassador to the Republic of Benin
>From United States Former Ambassador to the Republic of Benin
This is Mr GODWIN EMERA. the Former United States Ambassador to Republic of Benin, I came down here in Cotonou Benin Republic for an ECOWAS meeting and I was searching for some files that I left in this office before I left and found out that you have not received your fund, and I asked the present ambassador Mr James Knight what happened that you have not receive your fund since many years ago, and he said that you refused to pay the required fee for the delivery of your ATM CARD. I'm contacting you this morning because the director of the ATM CARD center here in Benin Republic said that they will divert your ATM CARD to the Government Treasury just because that you cannot pay for the service fee of your ATMCARD which is$99.00 only according to them.
But I told them to wait until I hear from you today so that I will know the reason why you rejected such amount of money $1.9 Million dollars which will change your life just because of $99.00 I want your urgent response as soon as you receive this email and explain to me the reason why you have abandon your ATM CARD because of $99.00 But if you don't need it then I can change your name to another person so that this Government will not claim this money but I know that you will love to have it.
My dear I want to help you to receive this fund because it was a big shock to me that you have not receive your ATM CARD and withdraw your money since many years you will receive your fund before the end of this meeting. Once you comply back I will give the information to send the $99 and note that I will be paid before you receive your ATM CARD.
You advice to forward us your full information listed bellow to avoid wrong delivery.
Your Receivers Name
Your Phone Number
Your ID Copy
I will wait to hear from you today once you receive this email.