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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "a security company " (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. )
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. katherine Adile" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2021 03:53:07 -0700
Subject: RE: Inquiry
In accordance to my religious persuasion, I felt expedient to write
and inform you on the wicked conspiracy hatched by the duo of (Mr.
Alex Kelly and Mr. Hassan) of the Ministry of Finance to divert your
money to their designated account in Cayman Island.
From my position as a lowly clerk in this office, I discovered that
they moved the fund from United States to China, and then moved it
last week to Banco Italiano in ITALY. Today I found out through the
Central computer database that they are about to reroute your fund to
a security company in United Arab Emirates where they will be able to
maneuver the strict IMF money laundering regulatory orders. With this,
I felt that it is important for me to alert you on this development.
They are still using your name and contract/inheritance identification
number as the beneficiary but they have changed the account
co-ordinate and this is the reason they are frustrating you by asking
for endless fees in order to buy time pending on when they will
transfer your funds to their designated account.
I have the reference number of the transaction and also I have the
number of the official who is directly in charge at the SECURITY
COMPANY. Your payment is supposed to go through the Euro-Asia Credit
Control Financial Clearing Department before final Lodgement into the
security company. All the data/information about your funds file are
within my reach. I do not need gratification from you either in cash
or kind. I can never be a part of evil because the bible said YE SHALL
KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE.
Please respect my discretion in this matter! I will send you the
reference number, the name and contact information of the officials of
the security company were your money is in U A E when I receive your
response. I repeat, please do not expose my person, it is not easy to
get employment around here and I cannot contend with these powerful
individuals because they can eliminate me.
Copy all response to (email@example.com) as I access this
e-mail more often.
God bless you
Mrs. katherine Adile.