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:
- "affidavit of claim" (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. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "affidavit " (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "David" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2019 06:08:16 -0700
Subject: Kindly Respond immediately
With all due respect. My name is MrOptimist David of International Monetary
Funds (IMF) a representative and the U.S Delegates to the Nigerian
Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) authorize by United Nations (UN)
presently in Virginia disbursing long outstanding over due funds to
Please,we would want to know if you really authorize Mr.Smith Mark of
INDOCHINA GROUP OF COMPANY FROM CHINA to claim your part-payment of
CONTRACT AWARD sum $10,500,000 as your next of KIN which has been deposited
with the STANDARD CHARTERED BANK,Virginia City.
Please,your prompt response is needed before we shall proceed with the
delivery of the ATM CARD to his location as the ATM CARD we have here is
bearing your name while an AFFIDAVIT OF CLAIM has been endorsed on his
name. Your prompt response is needed urgently for a favourable action.