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:
- "service 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. )
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Ambassador <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2021 08:14:19 +0100
Subject: Former United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I'm contacting you this morning because the director of the ATM CARD
center here in Nigeria said that they will diver your ATM CARD to the
Government Treasury just because you cannot pay for the service fee of
your ATM CARD which is $250.00. only according to them. But I told
them to wait until I hear from you today so that I will know the
reason why you rejected such amount of money $10.5M which will change
your life just because of $250.00. I want your urgent response as
soon as you receive this email and explain to me the reason why you
have abandon your ATM CARD because of $250.00. But if you don't need
it then I can change your name to another person so that this
Government will not claim this money but I know that you will love to
have it. Please my dear I want to help you to receive this fund
because it was a big shock to me that you have not receive your ATM
CARD and withdraw your money for years now and I'm very sorry for that
and you will receive your fund before the end of this meeting which
will take us 4 days and I will be here to monitor it until you receive
your fund. Finally, make sure that you reconfirm your full details.
1) FULL NAMES: 2) DELIVERY ADDRESS: 3) PHONE NUMBER 4) COUNTRY 5)
YOUR ID 6) AGE/SEX Mr. Edwards Ellis ( email@example.com )
From United States Former Ambassador to the Republic of Nigeria