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:
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Jacob Lew" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2015 04:47:50 +0100
Subject: YOUR RESPONSE NEEDED
I am Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. You can get more details about me here;
At the recently concluded meeting with the World Bank and the United Nations, an agreement was reached between both parties for us to settle all outstanding payments accrued to individuals/corporations with respect to local and overseas contract payment, debt re-scheduling and outstanding compensation payment. Fortunately, you have been selected alongside a few other beneficiaries to receive your own payment of $850,000 (Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars only).
We have been notified that you are yet to receive your fund valued at $1700,000. This money will now be transferred to your nominated bank account.
You are advised to kindly reply this email with the below details enclosed to help us process your payment;
(1) Full Names:
(2) Residential Address:
(3) Country of Residence:
(5) Phone/Cell Number:
Jacob J. Lew
Secretary of the Treasury
(U.S. Department of the Treasury)