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:
- 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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Agent McCLAINE JOHN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2021 02:00:11 +0100
Federal Reserve Bank Washington Dc U.S.A
Address:Constitution Ave NW &, 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20551, United
Open Hours: 9AM
WELCOME TO FEDERAL RESERVE BANK WASHINGTON DC USA
ATT: DEAR BENEFICIARY
This is to officially bring to your notice regarding the recovery of
your Compensation funds worth $10,500,000.00 Millions United States
Dollars with the help of the UNITED NATIONS FUNDS INVESTIGATION AGENCY
in conjunction with the INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUNDs (IMF) and the
total amount of $10,500,000.00 Millions USD recovered in your name has
been deposited to transfer to you through our online banking wire
transfer which you will need to transfer by yourself with any computer
in your home or office after the online banking account set up.
Reconfirm your information below as insructed for security reasons:
Note: We can also convert your payments to Bank Cheque or Atm card and
ship to your address which will permit you a daily withdrawal limit of
Scott Krause. (email@example.com)