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:
- "western union" (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. )
- "money gram" (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. )
- "million 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: BoA Group <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2021 19:27:13 -0800
Subject: Dear Customer
Dear esteemed customer, we are informing you Of our successful
arrangement to transfer your full compensation winning fund of
$3.5million dollars via new banking system of online with BANK OF
AMERICA which is affiliated with World Bank of Switzerland, The money
is no more to be deliver to you Via: Western Union/Money gram or ATM
card /DHL/FedEx/UPS due to many unforeseen fees and charges demanded
This $3.5m of yours is now in the Bank Of America Custody under the
care and control of
Be inform that this banker will set up a new ONLINE account from their
bank and shall provide you with the account information which shall
use to access the ONLINE account anywhere in the whole word, none
residence account is what they will open for you and all your total
fund shall appear in the account once you have log into the account
with the account information they will give you after they
have set up the online bank account
This account shall take them only 3hours to be opened on your behalf
after they have gotten your
re-confirmation information sequel as it's writing below:
mobile and office phone number:
Endeavor to send the bankers the above listed information with their
contact information below:
BANK MANAGER: .
MR ADNDREW SACHA
phone +1 707 504 9442
Contact them with above information to ensure they set up online bank
account bearing your name for you to access and get the money
transferred into your nominated account of your choice over there
without any delay,
Give us an update once you have successfully received your fund of
$3.5million into your account anywhere you wish,
MRS. VERONICA WILSON
CC. CHARLES WHITE