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:
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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: Ahmed Usman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2022 23:12:33 -0800
Subject: CONTACT MY SECRETARY FOR YOUR CASHIERS CHECK.
I'M HAPPY TO INFORM YOU ABOUT MY SUCCESS IN GETTING THOSE FUNDS
TRANSFERRED UNDER THE CO-OPERATION OF A NEW PARTNER FROM
LONDON.PRESENTLY I'M IN LONDON FOR INVESTMENT PROJECTS WITH MY OWN
SHARE OF THE TOTAL SUM $3,500,000 MILLION IN CASH CHECK MEANWHILE,I
DIDN'T FORGET YOUR PAST EFFORTS AND ATTEMPTS TO ASSIST ME IN
TRANSFERRING THOSE FUNDS DESPITE THAT IT FAILED US SOME HOW.NOW.
CONTACT MY SECRETARY IN BENIN REPUBLIC.
ATTN:MR PAUL ADER
Email: (( email@example.com ))
Tel +229 60 845 606
LEGAL PRACTITIONER & PUBLIC NOTARY
SUITE 205 MDOMI PLAZA,
AKPAKPA COTONOU BENIN.
ASK HIM TO SEND YOU THE TOTAL OF $3.500,000 MILLION WHICH I KEPT FOR
YOUR COMPENSATION FOR ALL THE PAST EFFORTS AND ATTEMPTS TO ASSIST ME
IN THIS MATTER.I APPRECIATED YOUR EFFORTS AT THAT TIME VERY MUCH.SO
FEEL FREE AND GET IN TOUCHED WITH MY SECRETARY MR PAUL INSTRUCT HIM
WHERE TO SEND THE AMOUNT TO YOU.
PLEASE DO LET ME KNOW IMMEDIATELY YOU RECEIVE IT SO THAT WE CAN SHARE
THE JOY AFTER ALL THE SUFFERER AT THAT TIME.IN THE MOMENT,IM VERY BUSY
HERE BECAUSE OF THE INVESTMENT PROJECTS WHICH ME AND THE NEW PARTNER
ARE HAVING AT HAND,FINALLY,REMEMBER THAT I HAD FORWARDED INSTRUCTION
TO THE SECRETARY ON YOUR BEHALF TO RECEIVE THE CASH CHECK $3,500,000
MILLION,SO FEEL FREE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH MR PAUL ADER HE WILL SEND
THE THE CASH CHECK $3,500,000 MILLION TO YOU WITHOUT ANY DELAY.