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:
- "account opening" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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. John Michael Flint" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2018 04:48:05 -0700
Subject: YOUR FUND TRANSFER IS READY!!!!
We wish to contact you regarding the transferring of your fund $4.6 million which was deposited here in our bank since September last year, we also want to let you know that we are not going to hesitate to get this fund transferred into your personal bank account once we receive any form of identification from you, either International Passport, Valid Driver's License or a Valid National Identification Card and your other information.
This bank has a standing tradition of recognizing and protecting the privacy of it's customers, the bank maintains strict privacy policies to reasonably safeguard customer's information from unauthorized intrusions. However we shall not hesitate to act upon receiving the above requirement from you and setup your transfer within 48 hours.
Our department shall setup an online account opening portal for you to enable you create an online account with us which is where your total sum of $4.6M will be deposited and made available for your transfer into your private bank account. You're required to reply to this email within the period of 5 working days or we won't have option than to transfer the fund to the U.S Treasury account as unclaimed. Please Reply to: ( email@example.com )
Your Transaction Identification Number: (BR N0. 332096528).
We look forward to your full cooperation and understanding towards this. Your satisfaction is our priority.
John Michael Flint
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER