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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Rev. Sister Mary Thomas" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2021 01:31:40 -0700
Subject: I AM WAITING FOR YOUR REPLY TO MY FIRST MAIL, THANK YOU AND REMAIN BLESS.
My name is Rev. Sister Mary Thomas from St' Mary's Catholic Church
Cathedral Cotonou Benin Du Republic, i wish to inform you that we lost
Rev. Fr. Clement Sandy.
Late Rev. Fr. Clement Sandy died on 13th March 2020, he is an Orphan
from Pontiac Michigan United State of America, but nationalized in
St'Mary's Catholic Church Cathedral Cotonou Benin Du Republic.
Before his death, he made a Will and gave an instruction to contact
you Via your e-mail address when he died as his Next of Kin. I am glad
to inform you that late Rev. Fr. Clement Sandy made you the
beneficiary of his will at the sum of $6,500,000.00 and i know you
might be wondering how late Rev. Father Clement Sandy made you the
beneficiary of his WILL.
He made a random sampling of many people's e-mail addresses as his
spirit direct him, by the help of MICROSOFT INTERNATIONAL FIRM and
yours came out as a draw before Leukemia took him. That is how you
were picked as his sole beneficiary to be contacted after he pass on
and memorial service completed.
To lay claims to this WILL, contact me Via ( email@example.com )
with the information's below so that i can forward it to Premium Bank
Plc Cotonou, Benin Du Republic where the deposit is lodged for the
release of your funds.
Next of kin:
Private Phone number:
Thank you and remain bless,
Rev.Sister Mary Thomas.