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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Andrew Ukoh" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2019 14:17:22 +0100
Subject: CONTACT: Mr. Collins Umah
Hello my good friend.
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family?, You may
not understand why this mail came to you.But if you do not remember me,
you might have receive an email from me in the past regarding a
multi-million-dollar business proposal which we never concluded.I am
using this opportunity to inform you that this multi-million-dollar
business has been been concluded with the assistance of another partner from Thailand who financed the transaction to a logical conclusion.
I thank you for your great effort to our unfinished transfer of fund
into your account due to one reason or the other best known to you.But I
want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund out of
my bank to my new partner's account in Thailand that was capable of
assisting me in this great venture. Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trust
worthiness You showed during the course of the transaction.I want to
compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of
I have left a certified international bank draft for you worth of
$1,200,000.00 cash able anywhere in the world. My dear
friend I will like you to contact my secretary Mr Collins Umah, on her
direct email address at: for the collection of your bank draft. I authorized her to release the Bank draft to you whenever you contact her regarding the draft. At the
moment, I'm very busy here because of the investment projects, which I and the new partner are having at hand.
Please I will like you to accept this with good faith as
this is from the bottom of my heart,Also comply with Mr Collins Umah's
directives so that she will send the draft to you without any delay.
CONTACT: Mr. Collins Umah
My Secretary, Cotonou, Benin Republic,
Her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Therefore, you should send her the followings:
(1). Your full Name
(2). Your address where to deliver your cheque
(3).Your telephone number/and fax
(4). Your correct e-mail address.
Thanks and God bless you and your family.
Hoping to hear from you after you received your cheque so
that we can share the joy together.