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:
- "into your nominated bank account" (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 next of kin 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.
Fraud email example:
From: United Bank For Africa Plc <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: United Bank For Africa Plc <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 00:15:30 +0900 (JST)
Subject: YOUR URGENT REPLY IS NEEDED
United Bank For Africa Plc
Head Office: 01 BP 2160 Cotonou,
have been mandated to inform you that your inheritance/contract fund
with our bank is due for release into your nominated bank account.
audit report given to us, shows that you have been going through hard
times to see to the release of your funds USD$2.5 MILLION, which has
been delayed by some dubious officials. We therefore advise that you
stop further communication with any correspondence outside this office.
In order to proceed with this transaction, you will be required to
contact the agent in-charge ( MR. CHARLES WHITE ) by clicking on Reply
button, kindly look below to find appropriate contact immediately after
clicking on Reply button information:
CONTACT AGENT NAME: MR. CHARLES WHITE
Phone Number: +229-6242-8811
Kindly give us your contact details such as Stated Below in order to process and send your funds without further delay.
Direct Contact Number:
i assure you that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate
arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law both in
your country and here in Benin Republic once the fund is transferred to
your bank account.The funds I am referring to is right here in this bank
floating in suspense account, therefore i solicit for you to be in
collaboration with me to have this done, it will be transferred into an
account you will provide any where in the world.I will need you to
provide the cooperation following information urgently to enable the
attorney start the processing of the all the relevant legal documents
for the fund remittance. IMF organization have ordered the funds
recovered to be shared among the 10 Lucky people listed around the World
as a compensation/inheritance.
For and On behalf of:
IMF Managing Directors