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:
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr John Morris" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2017 17:51:48 -0700
NOTIFICATION OF YOUR PAYMENT VIA ATM VISA CARD
This is to officially inform you that we have verified your contract file
Presently on my desk Your ATM Card of $1.750.000.00 USD has been approved
And was deposited with DHL Delivery Company this morning for registration,
And we agreed up that the delivery of Your $1.750.000.00 Million USD ATM
Package will take off tomorrow morning .So contact with your full info
Where your ATM card will be delivered to,
*** Your Full Name:
*** Full Address:
*** Personal Email or Fax
*** Phone number:
*** Scan copy of drivers licences or Passport
We shall post your ATM Card once you update us with the above info and you
shall be given a tracking number, that is, the Track and Trace number of your
parcel once it is posted to your mailing address, so as to enable you track
your parcel to know exactly when it will arrive to your mailing address.
Urgent get back to us today with your full address where your ATM card
Will be delivered to because i will not be in the office next week.
The amount in your Card is US$1.750.000.00 Million and your Pin code is: (9106).
Remain blessed as I'll be looking forward to receiving your immediate response.
MR. JOHN MORRIS
Contact phone Number +229-9878-1972
Postman, Regular Mail Post Office Cotonou Benin.