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.
- 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: Mark Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2021 06:53:23 -0800
Subject: Your ATM CARD For Compensation
My Dear Friend
This letter is to acknowledge the substantial contributions of time and
energy you have made in trying to assist to claim the fund through
your account, despite that it failed us because of your inability to
continue financing the transaction.
Besides I'm happy to inform you that I have succeeded in transferring
the fund out of my home Country with the help of a new partner from
I am now in Tuvalu for investment and Tuvalu is composed of 9 coral
atolls along a 360 mile chain in Polynesia. They gained independence
in 1978 the former Ellice Islands.
Therefore in appreciation of your earlier assistance, I have decided to
compensate you with the sum of $850.000.00 USD which I raised in ATM
CARD on your favour.
This fund I have given to you has been deposited with a bank which has
already opened an account and issued to you ATM CARD worth
US$850.000.00 (Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars)
The ATM CARD is withdrawable from any ATM Machine in the world.
So feel free and contact my Personal assistance (PA) in Benin
Republic, his name is Mr.Stephen Pena
Address: Carre 1299, Ste Rita City
Email: ( email@example.com )
and instruct him to send the ATM CARD to you.
Please do let me know immediately you receive it.