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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "economic financial crime commission" (This name is often mentioned in money recovery scams (re-scam): the real EFCC does not contact victims to offer to get their money back because that is near impossible. )
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a next of kin scam.
- 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 AGENCY <market@Tianlu-tech.com>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 10:35:12 +0100
Subject: FROM THE DESK OF DR. FRANCIS OBI
FROM THE DESK OF DR. FRANCIS OBI
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND AGENCY
INTERNATIONAL OPERATION DEPT
This is to inform you of your long overdue Payment outstanding with our Banking records. This is to inform you that your name came first from our Central Computer among the list of unpaid Inheritance claims individuals and have to update your information through this email contact for immediate confirmation. Your name appeared among the beneficiaries who will receive a part-payment of US$10,500,000 million (Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) and it has been approved already for payment months ago.
However, we received an emaFil from one Mr. Morris Lint, who told us That you are dead and he is your next of kin and that you died in a car Accident four months back. To our findings we discover that this Morris Lint is a liar and imposer that is why we contact you before any release of funds can be paid to him. He has also submitted his Account information to the Accounting office department of our Bank for Immediate transfer of the fund to him as your inheritor.
Regarding our investigation from the Bank & the Nigerian Police Force (N.P.F) in conjunction with the Economic Financial Crime Commission (E.F.C.C) we are now verifying by contacting your email address as we have in our Bank records before we can Make the transfer into his account and for us to conclude with confirmation if you are dead or not.
Please, confirm response immediately through the e-mail as below with Proof, before our action release of the outstanding payment against your name listed out. Upon this, i request you send your full personal information as soon as possible to enable this department finalize The transfer of the fund release to your nominated foreign Bank Account.
This department needs the following information From you urgently to enable us verify with the Information we have in the Central computer of the Bank.
1. Full Names
3. Contact Address.
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This E-Mail is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from Disclosure under applicable law.
Once again, I apologize to you on behalf of International Monetary fund Agency towards this contact and proper confirmation required urgently from you if alive.
Make sure you reply to my alternative mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
International Monetary Fund Agency