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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- "federal republic of benin" (Benin, Cameroon, etc. are no Federal Republics, unlike Nigeria where this type of scam was invented)
- 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: paul eken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2023 17:00:45 +0100
Subject: Dear Beneficiary,
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (I.M.F)
IMF WEST AFRICAN REGIONAL OFFICE,5TH
, FLOOR, IMF BUILDING, PLOT 447/448 CONSTRUCTION AVENUE, CENTRAL
BUSINESS DISTRICT, AVAKPA, BENIN REPUBLIC
OUR REF: WFDMPB/NF/IMF/WA-XX027/N09
Have you received your fund? You have suffered for nothing without
receiving your fund due to over greediness. You would have received
your funds since past years, but your problem is over greediness that
cost you a lot of money and still yet, you have never received $1 into
Your total money US$5,700 000.00 has been lodged with the UBA bank
department, this is secret information and I'm expecting your urgent
response before I can give you more details and the contact
information of the bank.
Listen very carefully, this information is a secret and I want you to
keep it as a secret between you and me. If you have received your
money US$5,700 000.00, let me know but if you did not receive it till
today. Contact me through this my private email:(email@example.com)
NOTE: I created a different email to contact you because this piece of
information I revealed to you is a secret about your UNPAID FUND.
Wherefore, you should keep it a secret.
I await your urgent reply.
Rev. Paul Eken
Senior Supervisor: Fund Discovery Management And
Payment Bureau West African Regional Office,
International Monetary Fund, Federal Republic of Benin, Direct
Line: +229 9032 7368