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:
- "million dollars" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: "Dr.PAUL OWEN" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2018 09:07:02 -0700
Subject: Dear Good Friend
From DR .PAUL OWEN
African Development Bank
Republic Du Benin Cotonou
Dear Good Friend,
How are you doing? hope fine.
I am Auditor General in African Development Bank Republic Du Benin On my routine inspection I discovered a dormant domiciliary account with the deposit of ($9.6Million USD) by late Mr Khalead Guei without any heir. I write to seek your indulgence and assistance in moving this funds to your country through legal means.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives, I now seek your consent to present you as the next of kin Of the deceased since you a foreigner, so that the Proceeds of this account valued at $9.6million Dollars can be paid to you subsequently to be shared among us If you agree, we share it 50/50.
I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement That will protect you from any breach of the law. I wait for your urgent response. Please provide your mobile number for easy communication. Please call me +2296107227 OR email: firstname.lastname@example.org