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 united states 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: MP <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2016 11:18:37 +0600
Subject: Hope to hear from you soon.
Banking laws have changed significantly. Now when an individual places
money in a foreign bank, the money reverts back to the rules of the
original country upon the death of the individual. If the deceased was
an American citizen, its assumed under the new law (U.S. Codes: Chapter
32 articles 3101-3111) that any unclaimed money after one full calendar
year (also the new time frame law) is automatically free money for that
institution. After that one year time, and proof that no next of kin was
able to be located, that money in its entirety (cash, bonds, savings,
etc) is deemed property of the bank and its shareholders.
It is on this note that I bring to your notice accounts that have not
been operated going to one year now and in excess of over $30 Million
United States Dollars hoping we can work to move the money out.
My name is Mark Portman and I will appreciate if you will write back and
let me know if you are ready to work with me on this deal.