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:
- "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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Miss Monica Smith" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2023 20:16:40 -0700
Subject: Attention My Dear
Attention My Dear,
Hope you have not forgotten me. Am a young girl who contacted you some years ago to assist me when I am trying to move my late father's funds to your country of residence.
I write to inform you that I have finally concluded the transaction with the help of an Indian man, Mr Moses. We secured the needed letter of administration and everything was perfectly done.
Meanwhile I do not forget your past effort made then even though it seems to fail somehow, I have left a bank check with a Reverend Paul Glenn in Benin Republic valued $20.7 Million dollars on your behalf.
contact him on below email address (email@example.com)
contact using text or call number +229-4544-7461 and indicate to Him on how you wish to receive this check and please let me know as soon as you have received it.
Miss. Monica Smith.