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:
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "million united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: Andrew Wilson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2021 23:46:18 -0800
Subject: I am Andrew Wilson. the Head of Private Banking at BNY Mellon.
I am Andrew Wilson. the Head of Private Banking at BNY Mellon.
I am Andrew Wilson. the Head of Private Banking at BNY Mellon. I'm a very
good friend of the late Engr. Richard D Petrelli, Who is a national of our
country. He died on the 7th of July 2013 in a motor accident here in New
York. On July 20th 2014, an Oil consultant with the American Petroleum
corporation made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months
valued at US$155,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty-Five Million United
States Dollars). After these several unsuccessful attempts to locate his
relatives, I decided to trace his relatives over the internet but no luck
until a friend of mine who does not want Her name to be revealed said I
should contact you that She trusted you to be honest and trustworthy
personality I can trust these funds on instead of blowing an alarm for the
American Government to make claims of this a huge amount of money labored
and also rightfully belongs to your countryman, Late Engr. Richard D
Petrelli. (He was a good man and has always believed to build one of the
largest American chemical industry here in New York unknowingly to Him that
He will die soon).
I contacted you to assist in repatriating the funds left behind
before they get confiscated or declared here in my bank where the deceased
had an account valued at about US$155,000,000.00 (One Hundred and
Fifty-Five Million, united states dollars) Consequently, the bank issued me
a notice to provide the next of kin or have his account confiscated within
a short time. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for
over some years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin
of the deceased since you are a trustworthy person so that the processing
of the account valued at US$155,000,000.00 can be paid to you for both of
us to share the funds; 50% for me and 50% to you.
With your Cooperation and assistance, I will secure all necessary
legal basic documents that can be used to back up the claim in your favor
All I require is your honest/Sincere cooperation to enable us to see this
deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate
arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please
confirm the listed information below, to enable us to discuss further, and
thanks for your understanding of my proposal.
Thanks for your kind cooperation
Mr. Andrew Wilson
Head of Private Banking
BNY Mellon Bank New York