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:
- "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)
Fraud email example:
From: "PLEASE CONTACT HIM TODAY" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2017 16:34:43 +0100
Subject: CONTACT HIM TODAY
Hello my good friend
Good day and how are you today? Hope all is well with you and your
family? I am using this opportunity to inform you that this multi-
million-dollar business has been concluded with the assistance of
another partner from India who financed the transaction to a logical
conclusion. Due to your effort sincerity courage and trust worthiness
You showed during the course of the transaction.I have left ATM visa
Card for you worth of $1,200 000.00 cash-able anywhere in the world.
Contact: Mr. Barrow Micheal
Cotonou Benin Republic.
His email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Therefore you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your
correct mailing address where you want him to send the bank check to
you. Thanks and God bless you and your family.
Hoping to hear from you.
Mr. Peter Howard