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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Ruth James <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2021 11:31:01 +0000
Subject: My dear friend;
My dear friend;
My name is Miss Ruth James, a British citizen; I am currently living
in the city of Abidjan which is one of the cities in Ivory Coast,
which is located in West Africa.
I work in the bank as accountant here in abidjan and the main purpose
of contacting you is this ; there is this man who made deposit of $30,
million dollars in his account in our bank and he use the name of his
wife as next of kin when he deposited this money in our bank and what
this means is that if the man dies his wife will be the person to
inherit the fund in this man account.
The problem now is that this man and his wife were victims of
coronavirus (COVID19) last year 2020 and after the death of this man
and his wife, I tried my best to contact the relative but
unfortunately there is no other person in the family left who can
claim the fund.
I am contacting you now because of the urgent, if we failed to claim
the fund in the next 30 days bank will confisticate the fund and
transfer it into the government treasury account but if you cooperate
with me with your help we can claim the fund and share it between us
50% for me and 50% for you.
This business is confidential and I need your urgent response; if your
response delays I may contact someone else for the same business
because of the urgent need to move this fund out quickly to a secured
account you may provide.
Miss. Ruth James.