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:
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: James Watson <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2021 13:51:42 +0100
Subject: My Dearest Friend
My Dearest Friend
I am very happy to inform you about my success in getting that fund
transferred, Now I want you to contact my secretary on the information
NAME: Mr Francis Mahama
Ask him to send you the total sum of ($1,950,000.00) One Million Nine
Hundred and fifty Thousand usd Cashier's Cheque, which I kept for
your compensation because of your past effort in trying to assist me
in transferring the fund which later fail both of us before I find a
partner from London who assisted me and transferred the fund meanwhile
you can contact my secretary on this Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
and Also Forward Your Name,Current Address and Your Direct Phone
number To him.
Please do let me know immediately you receive the Cashier's Cheque so
that we can share the joy after all the suffering at that time. In the
moment,I am very busy here in London because of the investment
projects which me and my new partner are having at hand.
Mr James Watson