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 sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "necessary legal documents" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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.
- +447024067534 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Billy Heinstein" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 5 Oct 2022 00:21:46 -0700
Subject: Please your respone.
Attn: Dear Sir/Madam,
I am Mr. Billy Heinstein, I was the Financial Consultant to Late Jose Manuel Barroso who died in Car Accident Last Year 2021 as i cant tell if you are related to him or not, I am contacting you to Help to receive USD$12.800.000.00 Million from Barclays Bank London into your Bank Account as the Relation/Next of Kin before the Bank confiscate the Funds as UNclaimed.
I have all necessary Legal documents that can be used to back up the claim Funds. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this Transaction through. I guarantee that this Transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the Law.
If you are interested in this project, furnish me with the following details:
You will take 60% of the total Funds receive into your Account and 40% for me.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Mr. Billy Heinstein
+447 0240 67534.
Email contact: email@example.com