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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Mahmoud Abbas" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2021 12:24:01 +0100
Subject: Dear Friend,
I am Mr.Mahmoud Abbas, the accountant personal confident to Dr.
Ravindra F. Shah who died together with his wife Dr. Mrs. Manjula
Parikh-Shah in a plane crash on the 1st Oct. 2010 on their way to
attend wedding in Boston. Dr. Ravindra F. Shah, is an American, a
physician and industrialist, he died without having any beneficiary to
his assets including his account here in Burkina Faso which he opened
in one of the Bank in the year 2000 as his personal savings for the
purpose of expansion and development of his company before his
untimely death in 2010.
The amount involved is (USD 10,500,000.00) Ten Million Five Hundred
Thousand USD, no other person knows about this account, I am
contacting you for us to transfer this funds to your account as the
beneficiary,) but I don't know any foreigner, I am only contacting you
as a foreigner because this money can not be approved to a local
Reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to take urgently.
Reply to this e-mail addess:email@example.com