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:
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal high court" (This court is often mentioned in '419' scams to give the victim a reason why he/she should send thousands of dollars to the scammers. A 'Federal High Court' exists in Germany and Nigeria, but not in other countries, such as the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Senegal, Benin, South Africa or other countries where fake lawyers in scams often claim to be based. )
- "inland revenue" (Tax offices mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. Even after you pay their fake tax demands you will still not receive the non-existent funds you have been promised. )
- "email@example.com" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. David Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2019 13:38:57 +0100 (CET)
Subject: THE OWNER OF THIS EMAIL ADDRESS
Attn: Dear Beneficiary,
I want to acknowledge you that we have finally succeeded in getting
package worthâs of $5.5 million out of (ECO-
WAS) Economic Community of
West African States department with the help of Mr. James George
General of Federal High Court of Justice Benin Republic which act as
foreign Attorney representative here in Benin Republic.
Meanwhile, every necessary arrangement has been made successfully with
Agent Patrick Collins for the delivery of your ATM CARD and every
guiding your delivery is well updated so you are advised to reconfirm
full delivery information to the Agent right now as he is currently at
Atlantic City International
Airport New Jersey, (USA) with your ATM CARD. He has already called me
with his number on his arrival 4 hours ago.
So you are advice to reconfirm your full delivery information to the
diplomat and you are to call him on his mobile number so as to have
conversation with him and to enable you give him full direction to get
your ATM CARD delivered to you and hand you over your ATM CARD safe and
sound, Furthermore you're advised to be very fast as agent Patrick
has no time to waste due to his flight ticket. So the Information you
required to reconfirm to the agent is as follow.
(1)Your Full Name:
(2)Mobile Phone Number:
(3)Current Home Address:
Contact Person: Patrick Collins
So contact him to deliver your ATM CARD first thing tomorrow morning
MR. David Williams
INLAND REVENUE BOA