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:
- "money gram" (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. )
- "consignment " (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)
- "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)
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. williams" <"www."@wish.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "Mr. williams" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2017 02:06:31 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Call me or text (607) 689-2957
Hello. This is Diplomat Williams Benson. Your Consignment
box worth $6.5 Million United States Dollars have been
Released by Home Land Security in California now. I want
you to Reconfirm to me the address where you want your
Consignment box to deliver to you.
Receiver name. Country State and City. Home address
and phone number Nearest Airport. Do as matter of Urgent
to enable your Consignment box deliver to you today. Again.
You need to send $59 to Dan Ben in Benin to Sign all the
delivery Documents that i forward to him and fax it back
here because all the Documents is Expired to avoid Stopping
the package at your Airport,
Send it to him Through Money gram to enable him Renew all
the papers today.
Receiver name. Dan Ben.
Sender name and address,
Diplomat Williams Benson
Call me or text (607) 689-2957