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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "foreign exchange" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Paul John <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2022 16:12:32 +0100
Subject: I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE
l know that this mail will come to you as a big surprise since you do
not know me . Please read carefully through this mail and get back to
me. This is real and please note that this is no scam, junk or a joke.
l need your coperation l am John Paul, l work with
the union bank of Nigeria as a consultant in the foreign exchange
Department. Sir, there is a dormant account that belongs to one Mr
Martin Foster; an Englishman.
The said Mr Martin Fosteris an international businessman,
unfortunately, he died in a plane crash some few years back, But he
left in his account US$ FIVE MILLION ONLY($5million) and right now
there is no next of kin and no address of whom to contact. So l am
looking for you with a foreign account l will use as next of kin of mr
Martin Foster so that we can claim the money and share it.
So l am asking you to help me complete this transaction as you will be
highly compensated. ln fact l have decided that after the transaction
you will get 30% of the money and we can keep 60% and 10% will be
expenses incurred as a result of the transaction. please note that
this is not illegal and this is no money laundry because if we do not
claim this money the bank will claim the money so please try and help
lt does not matter which country you come from as long as you have an
account with which we can claim the money. Please send me your
telephone,Your full name, address and fax number so that l can call
you. please note that there is no risk of any type in this
REPLY ONLY TO THIS EMAIL ADDRESS(firstname.lastname@example.org)