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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "certified bank draft" (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.
- email@example.com (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: William Laurent <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2021 06:09:01 -0600
Subject: I have left a Certified Bank Draft for you.
Hello my good friend,
How are you doing, hope all is well with you?
You may not understand why this email message came to you, but if you do
not remember me, you might have received an email from me in the past
regarding a multi-million-dollar business proposal which we never
concluded. I am using this opportunity to inform you that the
multi-million-dollar business has been concluded with the assistance of
another partner from France who financed the transaction to a logical
conclusion. I thank you for your great efforts to our unfinished transfer
of fund into your account due to one reason or the other best known to you.
I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the fund to my
new partner's account in France that was capable of assisting me in this
great venture. Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trust worthiness
you showed during the course of the transaction. I want to compensate you
and show my gratitude to you with the sum of $350,000.00. I have left a
Certified Bank Draft for you worth $350,000.00 cash-able anywhere in the
world, Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars Only.
Kindly contact my account officer through this email address (
email@example.com) for the collection of your bank draft, her names are:
Mrs. Patricia Dennis, I have authorized her to release the Bank Draft to
you whenever you contact her regarding it. At the moment, I'm very busy
with my partner because of the investment project which I and my new
partner are having at hand. Please I will like you to accept this token
with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart, also comply with
Mrs. Patricia's directive so that your DRAFT can reach you without delay.
Note her contact details below:
Name: Patricia Dennis
I did not forget your past efforts and attempts to help on receiving the
fund as requested, Now I'm rejoicing, so I and my new partner are giving
you the above mentioned fund so that you can rejoice too. Kindly let me
know when you receive your Check from my account officer.