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)
- "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 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Patrick Edward <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2018 04:50:13 +0100
Subject: RE.THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR PAST EFFORT
Dear Friend ,
I did not forgot your past effort by trying to help me, Now I want to
tell you that i have suceeded in getting those funds transferred under
the cooperation of a new partner from Kuwait.Contact my secretary in
Cotonou, Republic of Benin because I have left the whole instruction
to him on your behalf and instruct him where to send the Bank Draft
Cheque of $850,000.00 with out any further delay for your
His name is Mr. Paul Nkosi
NOTE :BELLOW IS THE REQUIRED INFORMATION YOU WILL SEND TO MY SECRETARY :
(1) YOUR FULL NAMES
(2) YOUR HOUSE ADDRESS
(3) YOUR DIRECT CELLPHONE NUMBER AND HOUSE PHONE
WITH FAX IF ANY .
In this moment, I'm very busy here in Kuwait because of the investment
projects, which the new partner and I are having at hand. So feel free
to get in touch with Mr. Paul Nkosi to send the cheque to you without
Mr Patrick Edward