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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million united state 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)
- "million us 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "MR. ALEXANDRA DICKENS" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2019 17:18:02 -0700
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam ^
Compliment of the season. My Names are ALEXANDRA DICKENS. I am the Administrative manager at a vault financial & security Institution here in Madrid. I am contacting you based on a financial opportunity I discovered here in my organization. It's about an abandoned sum of 25,000,000.00 million US dollars (Twenty five million United State dollars) in a dormant account with our bank and I have been following and monitoring this account since the year 2004 when I was appointed the Administrative manager of this financial institutions.
The Banking policy can only allow the release of such funds to a benefactor through an application as a beneficiary to the account deposit. For the past years, the bank has been expecting a possible beneficiary, but no luck, this institution has exploited all its ethical possibilities in other to contact the possible beneficiaries or inheritors of the account, but to no success since nobody has come over for the claim of the funds for the past 10 years.
I have made my own research with the help of a private investigator, it is my knowledge that the account has been dormant for the past 17 years. I also learnt that, there have not been any movement on the said account within this period. I am 100% sure that no one is aware of the existence of these funds.However, because of the international financial crises, a lot of reform has been made within the Spanish financial system, this includes the new law on succession of claims which indicates a duration in which such deposit account could be tolerated.
The Bank of Spain has mandated our institution to release the funds to a possible beneficiary WITHIN A PERIOD OF 1 YEAR. Failure to respond to this ultimatum would legally allow the Bank of Spain to confiscate the funds as unclaimed funds (Which of course would go straight to the Government's pocket). It is therefore upon this entire discovery that I have decided to contact you for your kind cooperation. I want you to know that I am a senior member of this office. As an insider, I am equipped with all classified secret information regarding the release of these funds. I would dedicate to make sure that I feed you with all possible documentation and information required for the approval and release of these funds to you.
Upon your acceptance to cooperate, I agree that 40% of this money will be for you, 50% for me and 10% goes for the reimbursement of any expenses that we might both incur during the short period of the funds transaction. Please note that I have ONLY discussed this issue with you alone. Immediately you acknowledge the receipt of this mail, we shall further proceed and you shall be informed on the next step to urge ahead. In conclusion, it's my concern to demand your ultimate honesty, co-operation and confidentiality to enable us conclude this transaction.
I fully assured you that this process would be executed under a legitimate arrangement that would legally protect you from any breach of law.
Reply to my private e-mail: email@example.com
With due cooperation, I wait to read from you soon.
MR. ALEXANDRA DICKENS
Tel: +34 612 432 655