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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "first national bank" (not involved with lotteries)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "activation fee" (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. )
- "account opening" (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. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: FIRST NATIONAL BANK <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2020 12:19:41 +0100
Subject: Dear Beneficiary
FIRST NATIONAL BANK (FNB) VIRGINIA BRANCH,
(PRIVATE ONLINE BANKING SECTION)
OFFICE ADDRESS:251 BROAD ST,
ALTA VISTA, LYNCH BURG,
VA 24505, USA.
Phone: (267) 686-0706
Please note that after much deliberation and due consideration with
Executive Management of First National Bank (FNB) Virginia Branch,
concerning your unclaimed fund valued $10,500,00 usd and your
account has now become a subject of litigation.
Now, in Our bank after a ministerial resolution meeting yesterday has
considered your plight of fund through our consolidated bank First
National bank USA to be transferred to you.
Meanwhile, We are by copy of this email authorizing the remittance
department of this bank to open a credit online account login on your
behalf and credit you with the above mentioned sum without further
Note: Your Online Account Transfer Access Code (TAC) will be paid by
this bank including account opening/activation fees.
We do this in order to make sure our customer do not suffer
unnecessarily while we pursue the case of fraud/corruption to the
Your account must be setup and running within 48 hrs upon.
We are waiting hearing from you.
MR. WILLIAM M. PEARSON
BRANCH OPERATIONS MANAGER