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:
- "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. )
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Insurer; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Alex Keith Paul" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2021 04:04:37 -0700
Subject: READ THIS MESSAGE VERY CAREFULLY!!!
Dear Fund Owner,,,
We are writing to bring to your notice that due to the delay in process of
the transfer wealth $7.5 Millions USD of your funds via Western Union, we
have today decided to channel the transfer to Visa Card department, the
Visa Card department will issue a valid Visa Card on your names, after
which it will be posted to you via courier service to enable you withdraw
your funds in your country or any ATM machine around the world, a $15,000
daily withdrawal limit is permitted with the card.
Re-confirm your details stated under if you wish to proceed,
However, kindly contact the person below who is in position to Post and
deliver your visa card to you.
Below is the AXA Assurance contacts,
Send an email immediately to: AXA.ASSURED@insurer.com
Contact person: Mr. Kashi Paul
Tele And Whatsapp Contact: +229-990-789-37
Address: Avenue Pape Jean Paul II, Cotonou, BÃ©nin 01 BP 2020 Cotonou BÃ©nin
You can also call this office immediately after you receive this mail for
Have a great day ahead
Mr Ken Melvin