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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "money gram" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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. David Mark" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 2019 11:34:59 -0800
Subject: YOUR ATM MASTER CARD
FROM THE DESK OF DR DAVID MARK
SENATE PRESIDENT FOREIGN DEBT
FUND SETTLEMENT COMMITTEE CBN
This is to congratulate you for scaling through the hurdles of
screening by the board of directors of this payment task force. Your
payment file was approved and the instruction was given us to release
your payment and activate your ATM Visa card for use.
The first batch of your card which contains US$10.5Million. has been
activated and is the total fund loaded inside the card. Your fund
which is in total US$10.5Million. will come to you.
Your payment would be sent to you via FedEx, Because we have signed a
traction with them which should expired by 2020. Below are few list of
tracking numbers you can track from FedEx
(FedEx Company) to confirm people like you who have received their
Thanapha Thanaratthasart ==============815462435557
Edmond Falise ==============85464432767
Good news, We wish to let you know that everything concerning your ATM
VISA CARD payment dispatch is ready in this office and we have a
meeting with the house (Federal government of Benin) we informed them
That your fund should not cost you any thing because is your money
(Your Card). Moreover, we have an agreement with them that you should
pay only delivering of your card which is only $75 by FedEx Delivering
However, you have only Two working days to send this $75 for the
delivering of your Visa card, if we don't hear from you with the
payment information; the Federal Government will cancel your payment.
Please try and send the Delivering fee in the name of (EDWIN MABIA )
send it to Benin, City Cotonou via Western Union Money Transfer or
Money gram and let me have the detail as soon as you send it.
Please confirm your full information by tomorrow your ATM Visa Card
will be delivered to you and I need you to send me a scanned copy of
your id I wait the payment information to enable us proceed for the
delivering of your ATM Visa Card. And when sending the payment
information also reconfirm to us your full home address were the FedEx
or Multi Express will deliver the Card to you to avoid any mistake on
1) Your Names:.................................
2) Contact Address:................................
4) Copy of your Identification...............................
I wait the payment information to enable us proceed for the delivering
of your card. And when sending the payment information also reconfirm
to us your full home address were to deliver the Card to avoid any
mistake on the delivery.
Thank you and have a wonderful day.
Dr. David Mark
Senate President of Republic Du Benin.