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:
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "stay blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.JENNIFER JOHNSON" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2022 20:53:42 -0700
Subject: ATTN FORM POST OFFICE
This is Mrs JENNIFER JOHNSON, I have registered your ATM CARD with the POST
OFFICE BENIN REPUBLIC so they send it to your home address and me
believe that your current address is still the same. Your
The total amount in the envelope is 15.8 million USD and the POST
assured me there will be no stopping until it comes into your hands. I
want you to contact them and reconfirm your address where to post it.
Contact Mr John Ben,
REPUBLIC OF BENIN.
Telephone +229 66 07 63 33
Your complete information for the post office.
FULL NAME: ==============
CURRENT RESIDENCE ADDRESS: ===========
GENDER/COPY OF ID: ===============
The manager informed me that it will take a good 3 days to get to your house
and accumulate your envelope. Your current address needs to be reconfirmed
when contacting the post office.
Thank you & stay blessed.
Mrs. JENNIFER JOHNSON