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:
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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. Jonathan Mathe" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2022 07:54:02 -0700
I know this email might come to you as a surprise, coming from one you havenât met with before.
I am Jonathan Mathe, a top banker with STANDARD BANK OF SOUTH AFRICA and a personal banker to one Dr. Mohamed Farouk Ibrahim an Egyptian/South African citizen who happened to be a Food supply contractor attached to the former Afghanistan government before they were overthrown by the Taliban government.
Dr. Mohamed Farouk Ibrahim did have a deposit of huge sum with our bank but passed away with all his family on the 16th of May 2017 while trying to escape from Kandahar Afghanistan.
The said sum can be used for an investment if you are interested, all details relating to the funds are in my position, I will present you as his Next-of-Kin because there is none, and will furnish you with more details upon your response.
Mr. Jonathan Mathe.