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)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Samuel Hoggs" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2022 22:17:11 +0900
Subject: Dear Friend,
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? I hope this mail finds you in excellent health. But if you do not remember me, you have received an email from me in the past regarding a multi-million-dollar business proposal which we never concluded. I am using this opportunity to inform you that this multi-million-dollar business has been concluded with another Merchant who financed it to a logical conclusion. I thank you for your great effort towards our unfinished transaction, due to one reason or the other best known to you at that time. Due to the effort, sincerity, and trustworthiness, you showed during the course of the transaction, I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of Five hundred and Seventy Five thousand United States dollars. I have left an international certified bank draft for you, worth USD$575,000.00 cashable anywhere in the world. My dear friend, please contact Rev. Esther Moses, so that she will release the draft to you. At the moment, I'm very busy and would like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart. Below is her
NAME: Reverend. Esther Moses, Of Catholic Parish, Adidogome,Lome-Togo.
EMAIL CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Therefore, you should contact her and ask her to release the draft to
you because I have instructed her to do so.
Dr. Samuel Hoggs.