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 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Lawrence Armstrong" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2022 12:45:34 -0800
Subject: Contact Denise.
The US Secretary of State announced Monday that Federal Government in collaboration with United Nations Government approved a mortgage relief plan. The Government will use about $897 billion in Federal money to help people who fell behind on their mortgage payments during the pandemic.
The program will pay past due housing payments in full, up to a maximum of $750,000 has been allocated for you. The money would go directly to your bank or mortgage servicers if you wish.
You are eligible because you own and occupy one property and make at or below 100% of your area median income. The program covers single-family homes, condos, small business entrepreneur and manufactured homes. Owners are believed to have faced a pandemic-related financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020. You are required to send the details below to this email contact details.
Name: Mr. Denise Powell
Country of origin:
Please contact Denise Powell for claim.
Mr. Lawrence Armstrong