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:
- "levy " (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. )
- "are expected to pay " (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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "2020 UN Bailout Award Grant - Heidi L Mendoza <HLMendoza@un.org>" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 10 May 2020 03:04:12 -0700
Subject: Re: Your 2020 UN BAILOUT AWARD Is Approved For Payment UNIOS .......
UNITED NATIONS OVERDUE COMPENSATION UNIT.
REFERENCE PAYMENT CODE: 8525595
BAILOUT AMOUNT: $2.5 Million USD
Dear award recipient,
You are receiving this correspondence because we have finally reached a consensus with UN, IRS and IMF that your total fund worth $2.5 Million shall be delivered to your nominated mode of receipt, and you are expected to pay the sum of $12,000 for levies owed to authorities after receiving your funds.
You have a grace period of 2 weeks to pay the $12,000 levy after you receive your sum total $2.5 Million.
We shall proceed with the payment of your bailout grant only if you agree to the terms and conditions stated.
Contact Robert Halsey Jr. for additional information:
By email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +1 954-601-3007
Your consent in this regard would be highly appreciated.
Undersecretary General for the United Nations Office of Internal
Oversight - UNIOS
UN making the world a better place