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:
- "million 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)
- "transaction is risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "international remittance department" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
- 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: "First Bank Ltd" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2023 00:49:57 +0900
Subject: Dear Honest Partner1
REV JAMES ABEL OF
FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA LTD
35 Marina P. O. Box 5216,
Dear Honest Partner.
I need your assistance to transfer the sum of $7.500.000.00
Million Dollars out of my bank to a foreign country.This fund has
been dormant for a very long time and my bank does not know about
it.I will put your name as the real owner of this fund and i will
present you to the bank.
At the end of the successful transfer of this fund to your bank
account.We are to share it 70% 30%.70% for you and 30% for me.I
will come down to your country and receive my own share of the
fund to avoid any detection from my bank and government.
However,all i need is a trustworthy person.Reply me with your
direct phone number and country of origin so that i can call you
and brief you more about this transaction.
Please note that,this transaction is risk free and safe,because i
have all the documents as proof.
Rev. James Abel
(Director International Remittance Department)