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:
- "await your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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. Robert Carter" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2023 00:54:31 -0800
Subject: OVERDUE PAYMENT
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)
International Settlement Unit,
1900 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20431, USA
Fax: + 1 (202) 623-4661
This is to inform you that you are among those whose pending payment has been approved by the IMF in conjunction with the World Bank. The fund release has been delayed as a result of your dealings with unauthorized individuals, so you are advised to stop every communication with anybody/institution regarding the payment.
These funds emerged from unpaid Insurance, Pension, Contract sums, Inheritance/next of kin and Lottery beneficiaries that originated from Europe, Asia Plus Middle East, America and Africa. You are among the list of individuals and companies whose unpaid funds have been approved for payment under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund Headquarters here in Washington, DC USA.
We do hereby ask you to contact this office within 48 hours of receiving this notification. Please reconfirm your full name and contact telephone number to enable us to normalize the documents in your name and advise you on how to make your claim.
We await your urgent response and for more clarifications, send your reply to this email address which is ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Dr. Robert Carter
Coordinator, International Settlement Unit.