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:
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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.
- 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.Elizabeth" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2022 13:51:29 +0100
Subject: Dear Beneficiary,
is to officially inform you that we have written to you before without
getting response from you and we believe that our previous mail did not get
to you therefore we write you again.The United Nations Compensation
Commission payment exercise has deposited your payment of (US$1,800,000 US
dollars with BANK OF AFRICA,This is regarding the draws the Secretary
General Ban Ki-Moon organized on his visit to Africa to help
individuals/Internet Scam victims and charity organization which your Email
address was listed among those who are to benefit from the compensation
We have made and concluded all the necessary arrangements for your payment
worth (US$1,800,000 US dollars) which have to be pay with ATM VISA CARD
Finally,Therefore you are warned to stop any further communication with
anybody concerning your inheritance fund. You have to reconfirm the
information below for security reasons. And also be informed that delivery
agent will leave this country as soon as you comply with Courier Company
requirement Contact the verification officer in charge Mr David Benson
CONTACT: Mr markus tom
Account Officer, Cotonou,Benin Republic,
His email address: email@example.com
HOT LINE; +229 57345129
Therefore you have to stop contacting anybody or offices regarding your
fund and you should send him your full Name and telephone number/your
correct mailing address where you want him to send the ATM card to you.
Hoping to hear from you.