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:
- "account opening fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "account opening" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "offshore account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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: Homeland Security <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2021 11:53:09 +0100
Subject: Re: Attention Sole Beneficiary
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington , DC 20520
Greeting from USA Embassy,
I'm Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas the secretary of the U.S Department of Homeland
security in Washington DC. Office Address: 3801 Nebraska Ave Nw, Washington,
DC 20016, United States. We received a report from UNITED NATION that you have
an abandoned fund worth $10 Million USD with them which is labelled to
be a scam
victim compensation fund and this fund has been approved by WORLDBANK
and Jp Morgan Chase Bank was chosen to open a new online bank account
in your name for the release of your scam victim compensation fund
from UNITED NATION to be transfer to their possession for the new
online bank account in your name. Note, that you will be asked for the
account opening fee which will be covered by you as a new Offshore
I want you to kindly Reconfirm Your
Current Home Address:........
Direct Cell Phone:............
So that preparation can be made for the opening of the new online bank
account to your
name and you can transfer to any bank account of your choice.. Contact Email:
Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas.
64 New York Ave Nw,
Washington, DC 20016, USA