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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- 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: "Joel Modisen" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2016 23:26:34 -0700
Subject: FROM JOEL MODISEN
Peace be unto you, I know my mail might be a surprise to you but never mind because I am contacting you in good faith. However, accept my sincere apologies if it doesn't meet your personal ethics.
In a brief introduction, my name is Hon Joe Modisen,a personal lawyer to Late Engineer who died with his family in Automobile motor accident here in My Country five years ago and left a huge amount of money in the bank here in my country ($US 3.580,000.00 Million) in his personal bank account for our mutual benefit?
This money Belongs to My deceased client,a National of your Country WHO died in 30/ 10/ 2010 From My Numerous searches, I found out That the deceased Bears the Same Surname with you, and That is the reason why I contacted you to receive this money for our mutual benefit.
If you are Willing to work with me to Receive this money, Kindly Get back to me through My Private Email (email@example.com) as soon as Possible so That I can Give you more details About this transaction.
The bank has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin, Please do reply with the following information for further clarifications.
Look forward to hear from you as soon as possible if you are willing to proceed with me. Respectfully,
Hon.Vincent Johnson Esq.