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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Melissa Usman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Melissa Usman <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2018 12:49:56 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Dear Beloved
This is to thank you for your past effort to assist me in moving out my inheritance funds out of the country, I understand your thought that time that I wasnât for real but you did tried your best to assist me despite that you did not conclude the transaction with me. I thank God for his grace and favor upon my life because I got a man from India who finally helped me to move the money to his account so our government did not seize my late husbandâs money any more.
I never believed that I will survive my last surgery for my cancer of the lung so I am happy to inform you about my success in getting those funds transferred under my new partner from India, I can never forget your commitment, advice and encouragement including your financial support then.
Now I want you to contact Barr. Bryan Adcock who helped me secure all the legal documents when I was in the hospital for my last surgery, I gave him a certified bank check of US$2,000,000.00 which I prepared for you as a compensation for all your efforts and attempts to assist me in this matter knowing fully well that I would have not succeeded if not for your effort and financial support you rendered to me so feel free to contact Barr. Adcock via email or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org cell phone:+2348180877859 instruct him where to send you the certified bank check which I kept for you.
Below is the required information's you will send to him for verification.
Your full name:
Your delivery address:
Your Cellphone number:
Please let me know immediately you receive it so we can share the good news together after all the sufferings at that time. Iâm very busy here for my charity project,I have forwarded your details to Barr. Bryan on your behalf to receive that check but you have to reconfirm it again to avoid any mistake. So do not hesitate to contact him with your delivery address, he will send the bank check to you without any delay.