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:
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "IMF" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 12 May 2018 06:45:41 -0700
Subject: FROM INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF). URGENT REPLY NEEDED
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF).
World Debt Reconciliation Agencies.
1900 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20431, USA
United States of America.
Tel: +1 202-623-7xxx...
This is to inform you that this Institution (International Monetary Fund (IMF)) has been instructed by the World Bank in collaboration with the United Nations/International Monetary Fund(IMF), to carry out the release of your long withholding inheritance fund payment & the release of your consignment/package. This is after the above mentioned Agency has took time to study your payment file and found out that you have paid VIRTUALLY fees and certificate but the fund remains Unclaimed. Now we have been ordered by the above mentioned Agency to have your fund release to you through Bank Transfer. For further inquiries, contact us directly on the E-mail address
Mrs. Susan Swart
Chief Information Officer
Director of the Information Technology Department
International Monetary Fund (IMF).
United State of America.