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:
- "million us dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "ATTN: For Your Funds Transfer." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2022 08:35:16 -0800
Subject: ATTN: For Your Funds Transfer.
I am Barrister Robert Edward, the new Secretary to the Ministry of
Finance & Economy Federal Republic of Benin. I'm writing to inform you
that the transfer of your Fund valued the total sum of $3.5 Million us
Dollars has been approved after the ECO WAS submit held on 20th
November 2021 in regards to the Foreign's Inheritance Fund remained
unpaid all over the West African countries.
Your Funds has been deposited to United Bank for Africa (UBA) for
online Transfer to your destination Bank Account. You are required to
contact the Bank Director right now through the contact information
listed below to enable them speed the transfer without any further
Bank Name:United Bank for Africa(UBA)Benin
Contact Mr. David J: Gomez
Please, hurry up and contact the Bank today through their above email
address so that they will proceed on the transfer immediately confirms
your Bank details. Waiting to hear from you today as soon as you
contact the Bank.
Bar. Barrister Robert Edward
Secretary to the Ministry of Finance & Economy Benin.