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:
- "million us 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)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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: "Mr.Oscar Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2022 18:19:45 -0800
Subject: Dear Beneficiary
Please This is to inform you that we have received a package
containing an ATM card from Mr.Raphael W. Bostic: the Chairman Federal
Reserve Board Atlanta Georgian and we have been instructed to deliver
the package to you without any further delay as the International
Monetary Fund IMF have instructed.ATM Card Number: (5267 3700 0265
8619)Security Pin Code: (Cannot Be Listed On Internet for Security
Reason)ATM Card value is: $10.5Million US Dollars, Withdrawal per day:
$5000 US DOLLARS
Note that you can Withdraw Money from your international ATM
Debit/Master Card from any ATM Machine Location or Center of your
Choice/Nearest to you in any part of the world. Please kindly
Reconfirm the following details Below to avoid any wrong delivery over
1. Your full name:
2. Delivery address:
3. Your direct tel, cell:
4. A copy of your id:
5. Nearest airport:
Urgently get back to me with your full address where your ATM card
will be delivered to because i will not be in the office next week: