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:
- "million us 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 of america" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Michelle Obama" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mrs. Michelle Obama" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2015 02:23:01 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Welcome to the first lady Mrs. Michelle Obama Office.
Welcome to the first lady Mrs. Michelle Obama Office.
I am Mrs. Michelle Obama this is to officially inform you that your overdue payment from West Africa Benin Republic total sum of ($20.000.000) twenty million us dollars is currently here in my office white house Washington DC and the funds will be delivered to you as soon as you get back to this office and comply with the requirement as needed to deliver your total fund to you as well. Your home address and your cell phone numbers is highly needed to complete this delivering to you as well,
Bear in mind that is the only office that is in charge of delivering your fund to you due to the regard to my husband Mr. Barack Obama. And you will have to pay the sum of $260.00 to the Federal Ministry of Finance Benin Republic to enable them secure the Approval Document and send it over to you before your funds will be delivered to you .You are advised to comply with the instructions from this office & every information as you will need to contact the Federal Ministry of Finance Benin Republic will be given to you from this office to avoid any kind of mistake,
Mrs. Michelle Obama,
First Lady United State Of America,