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:
- "money gram" (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. )
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mr John Kelly <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2021 03:40:36 -0700
Subject: Attention: Beneficiary
We have deposited the check of your fund (US$5,000,000.00) through
Money gram department after our final meeting regarding your fund, All
you will do is to contact Money gram Mr.Jonh Kelly via
E-mail:(email@example.com)He will give you direction on how you will
be receiving the funds daily.Remember to send him your Full
information to avoid wrong transfer such as:
1. Your Full name,____________________
2. Your home Address,__________________
3. Your direct phone number,_______
4. A copy of your ID card,_______________
5. Your age/sex,________________________
6. Your country,________________________
7. Your occupation,______________________
Though, Joseph Orah Wong has sent $5,000 in your name today so contact
Mr.Jonh Kelly as soon as you receive this email and tell him to give
you the Reference Number,senders name question and answer to pick the
$5,000 Please let us know as soon as you received all your fund,