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:
- "my direct telephone number" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "chambers" (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.
- 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: BARRISTER MARK WILLIAMS <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2021 05:31:56 -1100
Subject: CALL ME NOW OK
ATTN / DEAREST ONE
MY NAME IS BARRISTER MARK WILLIAMS FROM BENIN REPUBLIC, A LEGAL
ADVISER TO LATE KING, MAXWELL. OONIIFE A TRADITIONAL RULER AND ROAD
CONTRACTOR WHO DIED EARLIER THIS YEAR AFTER A BRIEF ILLNESS. HE LOST
HIS WIFE TO A PLANE CRASH FEW YEARS A GO, SO HE WAS SURVIVED BY HIS
ONLY CHILD VICTOR OONIIFE.
BEFORE THE DEATH OF MY CLIENT FEBRUARY THIS YEAR, HE REVEALED TO ME
THAT HE LEFT THE TOTAL SUM OF US $45.5 MILLION WITH A PRIVATE
SECURITY COMPANY FOR SAFE KEEPING .AND ADVICE ME TO MAKE CLAIMS OF
THE MONEY AND HANDOVER THE AMOUNT TO HIS ONLY CHILD .VICTOR OONIIFE
RIGHT NOW VICTOR HAVE DECIDED TO RELOCATE WITH THE MONEY TO YOUR
COUNTRY DUE TO THE DANGEROUS SITUATIONS AROUND HIM HERE AND YOUR
URGENT ,SINCERE ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED TO HELP HIM RECEIVE THE MONEY IN
YOUR COUNTRY FOR INVESTMENT AND ALSO HELP HIM CONTINUE WITH HIS
STUDIES UNDER YOUR CARE. HE HAS AGREED TO GIVE YOU 10% OF THE TOTAL
MONEY AS YOUR PERCENTAGE FOR HELPING HIM
PLEASE UPON THE RECEIPT OF THIS EMAIL, DONâT HESITATE TO FORWARD TO ME
YOUR INFORMATION'S SUCH AS:
1) YOUR FULL NAMES AND ADDRESS
2) YOUR DIRECT TELEPHONE NUMBER
3) YOUR OCCUPATIONS
4) COPY OF YOUR ID CARD OR DRIVERS LICENSE
ONCE I RECEIVED YOUR INFORMATION AS STATED ABOVE, I WILL CONCLUDE ALL
ARRANGEMENT WITH THE CONCERNED SECURITY COMPANY FOR DELIVERY OF THE
TRUNK SEALED BOX CONTAINING THE $45.5MILLION TO YOUR DOOR STEP IN YOUR
COUNTRY THROUGH THEIR DIPLOMATIC MEANS OF SHIPMENT. IMMEDIATELY AFTER
SENDING YOUR INFORMATION'S TO ME, MAKE SURE YOU CALL ME ON MY DIRECT
TELEPHONE NUMBER + 229 91 26 95 28 TO KEEP ME INFORM. I AM WAITING TO
HEAR FROM YOU
BARRISTER MARK WILLIAMS ESQ
MARK WILLIAMS CHAMBERS
RUE DE COMMERCE CARRE 30040 JERICHO COTONOU BENIN
EMAIL ADDRESS firstname.lastname@example.org
TELFAX: +229 21 21 00 3 / DIRECT MOBILE: +229 91 26 95 28