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:
- "required 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. )
- "service 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. )
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- 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 (Seznam; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Linda Thomas Greenfield <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2021 00:58:20 -0700
Subject: This is Mrs Linda Thomas Greenfield United States Ambassador
This is Mrs Linda Thomas Greenfield United States Ambassador, I came
down here for an ECOWAS meeting and I was searching for some files
that I left in this office before I left and
out that you have not received your fund, and I asked Mr frank james
what happened that you have not receive your fund since 3 years
ago, and he said that you refused to pay the required fee for the delivery of
your ATM CARD.
I'm contacting you this morning because the director of the ATM CARD center
here in united states said that they will divert your ATM CARD to the
Government Treasury just because that you cannot pay for the service fee of
your ATM CARD which is $100.only according to them.
But I told them to wait until I hear from you today so that I will know the
reason why you rejected such amount of money $1.5m which will change your life
just because of $100
I want your urgent response as soon as you receive this email and explain to
the reason why you have abandon your ATM CARD because of $100 But if you
don't need it then I can change your name to another person so that this
Government will not claim this money but I know that you will love to have it.
My dear I want to help you to receive this fund because it was a big shock to
me that you have not receive your ATM CARD and withdraw your money since 3
years you will receive your fund before the end of this meeting.
This is where you should send the fee today via Gift cards or Bitcoin
and don't fail to do that as I have said.
your pohne number.......
I will wait to hear from you today with the Gift cards or Bitcoin.
Mrs Linda Thomas Greenfield