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:
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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: "Gov. Mr.Godwin Emefiele" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2021 23:55:11 +0100
Subject: Dear Beneficiary,
After I received a fax message from your Next of Kin Mr. Williams Thomas
who informed me that you are dead in an auto accident, he claimed he is
your next of kin and he further provide to me the below account for
Mr. Williams Thomas
Account No: 567-878-656
Swift code: BOA-56578
Routing No: 657-787
Bank of America
Your next of Kin Mr. Williams Thomas requested for immediate transfer of
the US$5 Million into the above account which I have prepared all
documents of claim on his name because I have not heard from you for a long
time. I did believe him but I insisted on your behalf to contact you to
enable me to confirm if you are still alive or dead. Please confirm your
health condition through the following
reconfirm your personal information below:
Your full name
Your home address
Your telephone number
Your fax number
You are advised to reconfirm the above listed information if you are still
alive and Who is Mr. Williams Thomas, his Mr. Williams Thomas your next of
kin? Please get back to me so that I can know the next step to follow
regarding the out standing $5Million.