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:
- 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:
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "foreign remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Grace johnson" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2023 04:31:47 -0700
Subject: NOTICE NOTICE NOTICE
WE THE WORLD REMIT OFFICE HERE IN COTONOU REPUBLIC OF BENIN WANT TO
LET YOU KNOW THAT WE HAVE SENT YOUR FULL COMPENSATION PAYMENT OF
$5.900,000.00USD TO YOU THROUGH WORLD REMIT, YOU WILL BE RECEIVING
$10.000.00USD PER DAY, NOW WE HAVE SEND THE FIRST PAYMENT TO YOU.
SO KINDLY CONTACT OUR DIRECTOR OF FOREIGN REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT
(MR.JOHN HOPE ) AND ASK HIM TO GIVE YOU THE WORLD REMIT PAYMENT
INFORMATION SO THAT YOU CAN BE ABLE TO PICK YOUR FIRST PAYMENT OF
$10,000.00 UP IN ANY WORLD REMIT OFFICE AROUND YOU WITHOUT ANY
HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PHONE NUMBER +229 65439498.
AND CONTACT HIM WITH YOUR FULL INFORMATION.
YOUR HOME ADDRESS_______
DIRECT PHONE NUMBER_______
CALL OR EMAIL HIM NOW SO THAT HE CAN PROVIDE THE WORLD REMIT
INFORMATION TO YOU AS SOON AS YOU CAN.