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:
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "cashier's check" (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: FRED EGO <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 11 Sep 2021 03:46:51 -0700
Subject: CONTACT BARRISTER JOHN KUTTY FOR THE DELIVERY OF YOUR CASHIER'S CHECK.
I have deposited your CASHIER'S CHECK worth of $4.5 Million United
State Dollar on care of ( Barrister John Kutty ) as we discussed.
Please mail him immediately to send the CASHIER'S CHECK to you. I am
in Columbia now.
I kept your CASHIER'S CHECK worth of $4.5 Million United State Dollar
and will send you the rest of the money after my business trip here.
I sent you so many mails but all bounced back.
So mail ( Barrister John Kutty ) with below email for him to send the
CASHIER'S CHECK to you:
here is his email: ( email@example.com )
or call him at: +229-67563119
Kindly re-confirm to him your personal information per as follow for
Your full name..............
Your house address ..............
Your direct phone number ...................
Your occupation ....................
Your country's name ................
Your age ...................
Thanks and do let me know when you receive it.
Mr. Fred Ego.