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 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
- 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: "GG AD GRANTS" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2020 01:39:54 -0700
Subject: AD GRANTS
OFFICIAL GOOGLE AD GRANTS
Google Ad Grant is a foundation program that awards grants to non-profit organizations and individuals every year, Google Ad Grants is only available by Google in over 50 countries worldwide, each year we donate ONE HUNDRED MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS in Grants.
We wish to congratulate you as one of the lucky recipients in the ongoing GOOGLE AD GRANTS organized by GOOGLE AD GRANTS COMMITTEE with a grant worth $450,000.00 (Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Dollars).
HOW YOU WHERE SELECTED FOR THE GRANT.
You were selected through our e-mail database saved from over 30 Million Active e-mails and Phone Numbers, which an online random selection was conducted.
For processing of your Grants, you are required to send the following information to The Processing Officer Elie Bursztein.
Elie Bursztein, Send Mail To: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Grants Payment Release Form
1. Your Full Name's and Address:
2. Your Nationality and country of residence:
3. Your Gender and Age (yy/mm/dd):
4. Marital Status and Occupation:
5. Private e-mail address:
6. Mobile and Fax Number:
7. How do you intend to use these Grant?
Note: Upon confirmation, your Grant will be transferred to you through our accredited affiliate Bank via the Bank to Bank Electronic Transfer to any bank of your choice that bears the same name as filled above.
For security reasons, you are advised to keep these grants confidential as part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claims and its unwarranted abuse.
Sundar Pichai CEO, Google Inc.