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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "MRS.SUSAN WALTER"<email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2019 23:06:21 +0200
Subject: Re: CAREFULL!!!
My name is Mrs. Susan Walter, I live at 8763 Pelican Dr. La Grange IL 60525,United States. I am one of those who has an Inheritance/Contract in West Africa years ago and they refused to pay me my fund payment, I had paid over $70,000 USD trying to get my payment all to no avail.
Somebody directed me to travel down to Benin Republic in ECOWAS office to meet Barrister. Mat Oto with all my contract documents who is the member of CONTRACT PAYMENT COMMITTEE and LEGAL ADVISER to the ECOWAS COMMITTEE on Foreign Remittance Payment, and I contacted him and he explained everything to me on telephone and advised me to come down to Benin Republic which I did.
He said that those contacting us through emails are fake. Then he directed me to the paying bank, which is Bank Of Hope New York, USA, and I am the happiest woman on this earth because I have received my contract funds of $8.2Million USD. On the process of searching for my file, I saw your email on awaiting payment list in the office of Barrister Mat Oto. Though I did not capture all your information listed in your file .
Am sorry to contacting you so late as I planned doing it as soon as I arrive back to USA where I received my payment with the Bank Of Hope in New York City. I and my husband have been so busy because we are trying to set up a factory here with the money we received. So if you care, do contact Barrister Mat Oto with the information below and just explain yourself to him as I know he is honest and humble person. Alternatively mention my name to him he will attend to you quickly.
Name: Barrister Mat Oto
phone number +234 9082751195
Address: 123,Palm Avenue Palm Grove,
You really have to stop your dealing with those contacting you okay because they will dry you up until you have nothing to eat. The only money I paid was just $460 for ECOWAS Payment Clearance Approval which I used to receive my payment from the Bank Of Hope New York City. So you have to take note of that.
PS. If you need any of my help, do not hesitate to contact me.