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.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Ambassador Patricia Mahoney <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2021 08:49:34 -0800
Subject: VERY IMPORTANT AND URGENT!!
VERY IMPORTANT AND URGENT!!
I am Patricia Mahoney, the new U.S Ambassador to Benin. I have received
today the total sum of $2.4M USD from the Benin Government as a
compensation to you for what you went through in the name of their Country.
This email has been issued to you in order to Officially inform you that,
during our investigation we discovered that your e-mail address was
automatically selected as one of the victim's e-mail addresses.
We want to also inform you that Your fund has been removed and credited
with success into an visa ATM card worth $2.4 million usd which will be
delivered to you through courier delivery services.
This office will send to you a MasterCard that you will use to withdraw
your funds in any ATM MACHINE CENTER or MASTERCARD outlet within worldwide
with a maximum of $5000usd daily.
Now you are advised to forward to us your information below before we
6.DATE OF BIRTH:
Yours in Service
Ambassador Patricia Mahoney.
U.S Ambassador to Benin.
Direct Tel: +229-69728179.