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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Secretary-General <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2019 16:09:53 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT, IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK.
UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT, IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK.
Attn: my dear ,
How are you?
You may not understand why this mail came to you, but if you are not the suppose person do not reply or claim what is not yours.However we have been having series of meeting with the IMF and other international bodies for the past 7 months which ended 2 days ago. This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world,the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum ofUS$(5,000.000.00)
Based on this above agreement you are advised to contact Mr Lamy Josephhe is the head of the Monitoring/Investigation Team in Africa Cotonou-The Republic of Benin, on his final conclusion about your SCAM experince as our representative further details from his desk will be issued to you as how toreceive the above FUND.Send to Lamy Joseph your full Name/scan identity,your direct telephone number.
Person to Contact: Lamy Joseph
Making the world a better place.
Secretary-General AntÃ³nio Guterres