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:
- "million dollars" (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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Robert Steven Kaplan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2019 00:28:05 -0800
Subject: Federal Reserve Dallas District...
This is a notification message from the Federal Reserve Dallas District, Your name is enlisted among the beneficiary whose fund was approved for payment by the Board the Governors of The Federal Reserve Bank. We have been waiting for you to contact us to claim your fund of $5.5 Million dollars, but to our surprise one Mrs. Brenda Miller came forward for the fund saying that you asked her to claim the fund on your behalf with document evidence which we are not sure of its source. This was why we decided to contact you to confirm to us if you really sent Mrs. Brenda Miller. She said you instructed her that the fund should be transferred to the below account details. I will advise that you change your email password, because your email is be used to write to us, but because of the name on the account, we have to confirm.
Bank name : Heritage Oaks
Bank Address : 545 Twelfth St, Paso Robles, California 93448
Phone Number: 1(805)239-5200
Account number: 001453521
Beneficiary name: Brenda Miller
Most importantly, confirm to us urgently if you gave permission to Mrs. Brenda Miller to claim the fund on your behalf and if in a case where you did not authorize anybody then you will have to stop communicating with the impersonators and the organizations, because they are trying to divert your fund to themselves. She is trying so hard to change the fund ownership to her name. We await your prompt response.
Yours in Service
Robert Steven Kaplan (email@example.com)
Federal Reserve System 2200 N Pearl St, Dallas, TX 75201, USA