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:
- "activation fee" (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. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Lucein Ovia" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2021 08:51:30 +0100
Subject: CO0ONTACT UPS DELIVER COMPANY FOR YOUR PACKAGE
UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA INTERNATIONAL
UNITED BANK Heights Plot 87 Ajose
Adeogun Street, Cotonou Benin Republic
Attn: Payment Notification,
This is to bring to your notice that I have paid the re-activation fee
and the delivery of your Cashier's Cheque. I paid it because your
Cashier's Cheque worth $9.3 million inside has less than Thirty days
to expire and when it expires the money inside will go into the
With that I have decided to help you pay the money so that your
Cashier's Cheque will not expire because I know that when you get your
Cashier's Cheque definitely you must pay me back my money and even
compensate me for helping you . Now I want you to contact UPS DELIVER
COMPANY with your full delivery information such as.
Here is the information they needed from you:
1) Your Name:...
4) Home Address:..
6) Identity Card Or Passport:...
so that they can deliver your Cashier's Cheque to your designated home
address without any more delays .like I stated early the delivery
charges has been paid but their official keeping charges was not yet
paid since they refused and they did it because they do not know when
you are going to contact them and official keeping charges might have
increase they told me that their official keeping charges is $25 , per
day and I deposited it on the 14TH of September 2021. call him as soon
as you receive this email.
Below is their contact Information.
Contact person: Mr.Mike Dennis
UPS DELIVERY COMPANY
Phone number: +229-67573205
contact them today to avoid an increase of their official keeping fee,
and let me know once you receive your Cashier's Cheque