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:
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: ATM MASTER CARD OWNER <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2023 06:19:10 +0100
Subject: ATM MASTER CARD OWNER
Attention funds owner,
Iâm MR.CHRIS WILLIAM,the new appointed Delivery man of Regular delivery DHL
Office branched at Cotonou Benin. I assumed this office on 7th,Jan
2022. On going through the files of the previous records of this office, I
discovered that there are six parcels containing ATM cards each one attached
with an email address of the owner on it. The former appointee of this office
(Alhaji Ahmed Musa Jr.) failed to carry out the delivery as it was instructed
and programmed. Probably, one of his reasons for not carrying out the
was that you have not provided your postal address to him for the completion
of the delivery as he remarked.
According to the content recorded in each file, the ATM card was deposited by
one Senior Evangelist Mathew Peterson who died one year ago as a charity
foundation parcel to each of the six of you. On the statement he wrote on the
list, he stated that each of the aforementioned ATM cards contains the sum of
US$18.7,00.000 and he found your email contacts as reputable and capable
that can use the charity awarded ATM Cards to change the lives of people.
Meanwhile, I've made the arrangement of delivery the six parcels through
Regular delivery DHL Office to the six of you to your respective mailing
Am also sending the same message of the same content to six of you that
six abandoned ATM CARDS each at the same time. If found in spam folder, it
could be due to your Internet Service Provider, ISP. So move to your inbox
before your reply.
I went to our head office at Cotonou Benin and reported the issue of the
discovered six ATM cards in my office and they verified it and gave me the
order to carry out the delivery immediately you reconfirm your mailing
to this office in order for us to deliver the ATM CARD directly to you after
Postal Stamp of the parcel. Note, below information is officially needed for
delivery of the ATM CARD ASAP.
Full mailing info:
Your cell phone line:
We shall deliver your ATM Card once you update us with the above info and you
shall be given a tracking number, that is, the Track and Trace number of your
parcel once it is posted to your destination address, so as to enable you
your parcel to know exactly when it will arrive to your destination address.
I will looking forward to receiving your immediate response.
DHL,Director Office Cotonou Benin.
Phone Number +229-57-02-50-12