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:
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address looks like addresses used in "ATM SWIFT card" scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Dennis Frank <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2021 23:41:40 -0700
Subject: Your Atm Master Card Worth US$3.500.000 compensation
My Dearest Friend,
This is to thank you for your past effort and kindly assistance. The
money has been transferred into an account provided by a newly found
business partner of mine from Sweden. I wish to compensate you for
your past assistance, effort and commitments that time to help me out.
I have arranged with Bank Of Africa and issued an ATM MASTER CARD
valid at US$3.500.000 for your compensation. I am in Switzerland right
now to establish some business and possibly buy some properties also.
So I want you to Contact my secretary in Benin Republic Mr.William
Coto on his information below, because I kept the ATM CARD with him to
be send to you as soon as you contact him
Email address: (email@example.com )
Phone Number: +229-679-045-07
I left every instruction with him to send you the ATM MASTER CARD .as
soon as you contact him, so make sure you re-confirm your address and
Cell Phone Number to him to avoid any mistake on the delivery of your
ATM CARD to you. Then ask him to send the ATM CARD to you immediately
which you can use to withdraw your money at any ATM Machine in the
With All My