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:
- "million united states 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)
- "my direct telephone number" (a "direct line" in a scam usually means an untraceable mobile phone number used by a scammer in an internet cafe, a redirection service number that forwards to a mobile or a free voicemailbox in a different country.)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Larry Dominick Benson <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2023 06:51:10 +1100
Thanks for your email response, I have been expecting you to contact
me since my boss Mrs. Robin lee Moore left a Bank Draft worth
Million United States Dollars (US$7.800.000.00 .M) under my care
before she and her partner traveled out of the country for business
project. I have a legitimate certified bank draft given to me by Mrs.
Robin lee Moore for safe keeping pending when you contact me for it.
You should understand that the money is on a Certified Bank Draft not
in cash so I will not have to transfer the money directly to your bank
account I will have to send it to you via Courier Company.
You will have to reconfirm to me the below information:
Your Complete Mailing Address:
Direct Telephone Phone:
This is to make sure that your Certified Bank Draft will be delivered
directly to your door step and I can be able to speak with you on
phone before sending the draft to your address which you will provide.
I will have to use the service of a reputable courier/insurance
service company for safe and easy delivery to be insured of the draft
to you as soon as I received the complete Mailing Address, I will talk
to any of the courier company around regarding sending your bank draft
to you safely to your doorstep without any further delay.
Please call me on my direct telephone number for further information
on this this is whastAPP NO (+229 62628302).
I await your prompt response.
Thanks and God Bless.
Tell +229 62628302
Mr Larry Dominick Benson