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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- 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: UNPAID FUND <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2018 00:11:56 +0100
Subject: URGENT REPLY!
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (I.M.F)
IMF WEST AFRICAN REGIONAL OFFICE,
5TH, FLOOR, IMF BUILDING, PLOT 447/448 CONSTRUCTION AVENUE, CENTRAL
BUSINESS DISTRICT, AVAKPA, BENIN REPUBLIC
OUR REF: WFDMPB/NF/IMF/WA-XX027/N09
Have you received your fund? You have suffered for nothing without
receiving your fund due to over greediness. You would have received your
fund since last year but your problem is over greediness that cost you a
lot of money and still yet, you have never received $1 into your account.
Your total money US$5,700 000.00 has been lodged with UBA bank department,
this is a secret information and Iâm expecting your urgent response before
I can give you more details and the contact information of the bank.
Listen very carefully, this information is a secret and I want you to keep
it as a secret between you and me. If you have received your money US$5,700
000.00, let me know but if you did not receive it till today. Contact me
through this my private e-mail:(email@example.com
NOTE: I created a different e-mail to contact you because this piece of
information I revealed to you is a secret about your UNPAID FUND.
Wherefore, you should keep it a secret.
I await your urgent reply.
Rev. James Michael
Senior Supervisor: Fund Discovery Management And
Payment Bureau West African Regional Office,
International Monetary Fund, Federal Republic of Benin,
Direct Line: +229-9949 8677