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:
- 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)
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "account opening" (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. )
- "account opening form" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "MRS;DAWSON SUSAN" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 05:14:17 -0700
Subject: Online Bank Financial BANK Plc
FROM THE DESK OF
OF BENIN REPUBLIC
Attention: Dear Friend,
I am glad to announce to you today that a new payment policy has been
adopted and you have been short listed for payment via Online
Banking,So kindly urgent contact ONLINE Bank Central Bank Of Benin
Republic,where the funds was approved by Benin Republic government to
transfer your funds through online into your account and we are to
assure you to follow there online payment instruction to make sure the
transaction goes successful.Below is the contact information of Online
Bank Financial BANK Plc Benin Republic:
Contact Person:Mr.James Collins.
Phone: Tel: +229-62090846
Endeavor to email him the following information for immediate processing,
FULL CONTACT ADDRESS:...........
MOBILE PHONE NUMBER:............
COPY OF ID OR PASSPORT ATTACHMENT:
These are the requirements that you need to be aware of, before you
contact him below .1) You will fill the online account opening form
Online Bank Central Bank Of Benin Republic.Send him an email in
regards to your funds $12.5Million that has been approved by the
Federal Government of Benin republic to transfer on your behalf
through there online banking service.
Federal Republic of Benin