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 united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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: FBI CONTACT OFFICE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 10 May 2019 18:49:51 -0700
Subject: Re: Attention: Beneficiary, We are waiting to hear from you fast today.
ANTI-TERRORIST MONETARY, CYBER RESPONSE AND CRIMES DIVISION
FBI HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON DC FEDERAL BUREAU OF
INVESTIGATIONS J.EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING 935 PENNSYLVANIA
AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON,
You Should Stop Ignoring My E-mails. In receipt of your response and
the content is well noted, This is to acknowledge the receipt of your
email. You are to bear the responsibility of any option you mentioned
on how you want to receive your compensation fund this week. When are
you going to send the fees this week?
Again, Please be informed that during our investigation, we found out
that there is a total sum amount of money $25.500.000.00 Million
United State Dollars that has been assigned in your name as the
So follow our instructions properly to avoid any action from our
office against you.
You Should Contact: FBI Agent Mr. Peter Strzok,
The International Foreign Remittance Director.
Our New Email Address: ( email@example.com )
Here is my direct telephone No: +234-90-5355-5679
(Board of Director)