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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "lome togo" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "New Partner from Paraguay" scam.
- 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: John William <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2022 01:59:45 -0700
Subject: ATM CARD
Good day my dear friend, how are you? Longest time. I'm happy to
inform you about my success in getting those inheritance funds
transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from Czech
republic. Presently I'm in INDIA for investment projects with my own
share of the total sum. Meanwhile, i didn't forget your past efforts
and attempts to assist me in transferring of those inheritance funds
despite that it failed us some how. Now contact my secretary in Lome
Togo west Africa, his name is Mr. Donald Philip on his email address
(email@example.com ) ask him to send you the total of
($500,000.00), five hundred thousand united states dollars which i
kept for your compensation for all the past efforts and attempts to
assist me in the transaction. I appreciated your efforts by that time
very much. So feel free to contact my secretary Mr. Donald, and
instruct him where to send you ATM CARD of the total sum
of($500,000.00). Please do let me know immediately you receive it so
that we can share the joy after all the suffering at that time. In the
moment, I'm very very busy here because of the investment projects
which i am having with my new partner at hand, finally remember that I
had forwarded instruction to my secretary on your behalf to receive
that ATM CARD of ($500,000.00) so feel free to get in touch with Mr.
Donald Philip, he will send the amount to you without any delay.