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.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Olugbemi Femilola" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 07:54:18 -0800
Subject: RECOVERY OF DIVERTED ATM CARD
Benin Republic Police
Commissariat Central, Address
HEAD QUARTER POLICE STATION ZOGBO COTONOU
RECOVERY OF DIVERTED ATM CARD
I am contacting you personally to notify you of our discovery as well as get some fact from you.
Recently we arrested a Ghanian Citizen who work with D.H.L office in Cotonou with an ATM CARD bearing your name on it as the beneficiary and the owner of the card. However the entire parcel containing the proof of claim ownership which includes 4 digit secret PIN # was also in your name has so far been recovered from him.
After we arrested and interrogated him, he confessed his name as Mr Kwame Foster who work with the D.H.L office in Benin Republic. He further confessed that earlier this year, he was approached by a staff of Zenith Bank Plc about the diversion of a parcel containing ATM VISA CARD belonging to one foreigner which he agreed and then they collaborated to divert your ATM VISA CARD from been dispatched to the destination.
To further conclude our investigation, we will like to hear from you immediately to enable us carry out proper action. Waiting your immediate response re-confirming your full contact details for verification as follows:
1. Your full name
2. Your contact address.
3. Your Direct Phone Number and a copy of your identification so we can
ascertain dealing with the true beneficiary.
Reply immediately on: firstname.lastname@example.org