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:
- "please endeavor to " (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)
- "dormant account" (Banks mentioned in 419 scams are always fake (real banks don't communicate using mobile phones or free webmail addresses))
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Mikes ANDRE" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:01:23 +0200
Subject: GOOD DAY
A customer of ours who died nine years ago in Tsunami tragedy in
Indonesia leaving behind an estate/capital (US$20M) in a Bank here
where I work,
till date nobody has come forward or put application for the claim.
During the Bank private search for the late gentle man relatives your
name and email contact was among the findings that matches the same
surname as the deceased who died intestate with no Will or next of
kin. To maintain the level of security required I have intentionally
left out the final details.
Banking regulation/legislation demand that I notify the fiscal
authorities after a statutory time period when dormant accounts of
this type are called in by the monetary regulatory bodies if nobody
applies to claim the funds. I urge you to come forward since I can
provide you with the details needed for you to claim the
estate/capital so that I can be gratify by you ,in this way
$12,000,000.00 for you and $8,000,000.00 for me. I will do all the
crucial part in the Bank to have the claim released to you promptly.
Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning
this issue to affirm your willingness and cooperation please do so by
replying me at my private email firstname.lastname@example.org with
your Telephone/Fax number.
I do expect your prompt response.
Mikes Andre Jr