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:
- "inheritance funds" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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: "International Monetary fund" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2011 10:25:02 -0500
Subject: International Monetary fund Agency (I.M.F)
This is to inform you of your long overdue outstanding payment in our banking records from IMF Abuja which has been transferred to an online
bank in Lagos, so i have been sent to Lagos to find out what is still keeping this funds in the bank and that is why i am contacting you
because we have been searching on how to get in touch with you. So kindly read carefully and confirm if you are still living.
In our Central Computer, your's is among the list of unclaimed inheritance funds and you have to update your information through this
email contact for immediate confirmation .You appeared among the beneficiaries who will receive a part-payment of US$3,800,000 million
(Three million eight hundred thousand Dollars) and it has been approved already for payment months ago.
However we received an email from one Mr. Gotsall Kimball who told us that he is your next of kin and that you died in a car accident last
year September.He has also submitted his account information to the office department for transfer of the fund to him as your next of kin.
We are now verifying by contacting your email address as we have in our Bank record before we can make the transfer into his account and
for us to conclude confirmation if you are dead or not. Please, confirm immediately before our action in releasing the outstanding
payment against your name. Upon this, If you are still alive, I request you send your full personal information as soon as possible to enable this department finalize the transfer of the fund to your nominated foreign Bank Account. This department needs the following information from you urgently for proper confirmation that it is you are alive.
1.) Full Names.....................
2.) Telephone/Fax Number...........
3.) Contact Address................
4.) Age/Marital Status.............
5.) Occupation.................. ..
Once again, I apologize to you on behalf of International Monetary fund Agency(I.M.F) towards this means of contact and proper
confirmation required urgently from you if are still alive or not. You can get back to me via my private email: (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can call me on my phone (+234-8020758001). Once i receive your confirmation then i shall forward your details to the bank here in Lagos Nigeria. I hope this email
reaches you in good faith.
Mr Thomas Adeniran