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:
- "million 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)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Jennifer L. Moore" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2021 05:12:28 +0800
Subject: RELEASE OF YOUR FUND AS INSTRUCTED BY THE FBI!!
In a recent meeting held with the FBI Director Christopher A. Wray
concerning debt reconciliation, the new U.S president Joe Biden has given
an order to release all the outstanding overdue contract payments, winning
prizes, compensation funds etc. which the Trump administration refused to
pay to their respective beneficiaries over the past 4yrs.
Following the records on my desk, it was revealed this morning that you are
among the beneficiaries that have not received their fund due to the strict
policies of the past administration. Meanwhile the total amount that will
be released to you is (2.8Million Dollars) which will come via Global
Automatic Teller Machine Debit Master Card as instructed by the FBI
headquarters. However, the below information is needed as
to enable the profiling of your ATM Card and its delivery to you:
Your full name:
Underneath is the contact information of appointed dispatch person whom you
are to forward the above requested details:
Mr. Fred Johnson
Once we receive the above information, we will proceed without delay.
Jennifer L. Moore