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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Miss Ruth James <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2021 16:38:02 +0000
Subject: My dear friend;
My dear friend;
My name is Miss Ruth James, a British citizen; I am currently living
in the city of Abidjan in Ivory Coast, which is located in West
Africa; I work in the bank as an accountant here in Abidjan and the
main purpose of contacting you is as follows: there is a man who
deposited $30, 000,000.00 million dollars in his account in our bank
and he used his wife's name as his next of kin when he deposited this
money in our bank and what this means is that if the man dies his wife
will be the person who will inherits the fund.
The problem is that this man and his wife were victims of coronavirus
(COVID19) last year 2020 and after the death of this man and his wife,
I tried my best to contact the relative but unfortunately there is no
other person left in the family who can claim the fund. I am
contacting you now because of the urgency, if we fail to claim the
fund in the next 30 days the bank will confiscate the fund and
transfer it to the government treasury account but if you cooperate
with me we can claim the fund and share it between us 50% for me and
50% for you. I await your response as soon as possible.
Miss. Ruth James.