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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic agent" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "a diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms. Maria Michael" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Ms. Maria Michael" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2018 09:47:24 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: FROM: UNITED NATIONS
FROM : DIPLOMATIC AGENT, I am a Diplomat named Ms. Maria Michael, mandated to deliver your inheritance funds to you in your country of residence. The funds total US$2.5 Million and you were made the beneficiary of these funds by a benefactor whose details will be revealed to you after handing over the funds to you in accordance with the Agreement which was signed with the benefactor when he enlisted my assistance in delivering the funds to you.
I am presently at the airport in your country and before I can deliver the funds to your doorstep as soon as possible, you have to reconfirm the following information's so as to ensure that I am dealing with the right person.
5.Direct Telephone Numbers............
After verification of the information's with what I have on file, I shall contact you immediately so that we can make arrangements on the exact time I will be bringing your package to your residential address. Send the requested information so that we can proceed.
Awaiting your urgent response.
Ms. Maria Michael