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:
- "of which your share shall be" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. MAURICE AGBOSSAGA MAGA" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2021 14:43:57 +0100
Subject: YOUR ASSISTANCE REQUIRED FOR ACQUISITION OF ESTATES.
FROM: MR. MAURICE AGBOSSAGA MAGA
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF WORKS AND HOUSING,
COTONOU, REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
YOUR ASSISTANCE REQUIRED FOR ACQUISITION OF ESTATES.
I write to inform you of my desire to acquire estates or landed
properties in your country on behalf of the Director of Contracts and
Finance Allocation of the Federal Ministry of works and Housing in the
Republic of Benin.
Considering his very strategic and influential position, he would want
the transaction to be strictly as confidential as possible. He further
want his identity to remain undisclosed at least for now, until the
completion of the transaction. Hence our desire to have an overseas
I have therefore been directed to inquire if you would agree to act as
our overseas agent in order to actualize this transaction. The Deal in
brief is that the funds with which to carry out our proposed
investments in your country is presently in a suspense bank account of
the Federal Ministry of works and Housing with African Development
Bank Group and we need your assistance to transfer the funds to your
country or any safe account outside your country in a convenient bank
account that will be provided by you before we can put the funds into
For this you shall be considered to have executed a contract for the
ministry (FEDERAL MINISTRY OF WORKS AND HOUSING). The contract sum of
which shall run into US$30.5Million of which your share shall be 25%
if you agree to be our overseas agent. Your area of specialization
does not matter in this transaction, all that is required of you is a
safe account and your willingness to assist us acquires estates in
As soon as payment is effected and the amount mentioned above is
successfully transferred into your account, we intend to use our own
share in acquiring some estates abroad and/or any other legitimate
business you feel that is good as you may advise us. For this too, you
shall serve as our agent pending our retirements from government work.
It might interest you to note that last year, a similar transaction
was carried out with one MR. CHIENCHEN YU of Taiwan but after securing
the payment approvals, and payment effected, MR.CHIENCHEN YU changed
his numbers and addresses, and was nowhere to be found on our way to
Taiwan. That's how we lost USD7Million.
So this time around, I will be with you before the remittance is made
into your provided account to avoid future occurrence and allow trust
to play a very minimal role until performance is seen.
You are requested to communicate your acceptance or otherwise of this
proposal, which we shall discuss in detail the modalities for seeing
this transaction through. If however, you are not disposed to assist,
kindly destroy this letter in view of the confidentiality of the
proposed transaction and interest of personalities involved.
Thank you in anticipation of your co- operation.
Maurice Agbossaga Maga