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:
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Joseph Jordan <Joseph@arpege.co.jp>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2021 21:37:09 -0300
Attention Potential Beneficiary,
My name is Mr. Joseph Jordan, a banker with PNC Bank New York, I hereby
solicit for your urgent reply to assist me in claiming a deceased
customer's fund as the next of kin since you bear the same surname (last
name) with the deceased, though I was the account officer to the
before he died.
Meanwhile, the funds involved is USD$18.4 million, the deceased person
contacted corona virus in December 2019 while in China with the family
vacation died after a month and three weeks later the entire family
away, leaving behind no one to stand as next of kin, since then I have
all efforts to locate any family member but to no avail.
After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to contact you
you bear the same surname. I have some related documents in my
as the account officer to back up your claim as the next of kin.
Please I await your careful response to enable me detail you the way
forward. Again, I want you to be discreet about this for the safety of
Mr. Joseph Jordan