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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million dollars" (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)
- "chief auditor" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Anorld Armstrong" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2021 18:48:46 +0100
Subject: I Seek Your Consent
I am Mr. Arnold Armstrong Chief auditor with a bank. I am contacting you
based on one of our late customer who unfortunately died on Air India
Express, Boeing 737-800 arriving from Dubai crashed Saturday 22nd May 2010
as it overshot a runway while trying to land in southern India.
Please you can Visit the Websites below for confirmation:
The board of Directors have been unsuccessful in locating the next of kin
to our late customer for the claims of Twenty Five Million Dollars left
behind and I seek your consent to present you as the relation/next of kin
for the claims
Indicate your interest to this offer by furnishing me with your information
Reply via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Arnold Armstrong