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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "processing fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "million 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)
- "waiting for your urgent response" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "diplomatic delivery" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: Pay Master <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 00:30:21 +0200
Subject: Attn: Beneficary,
Re: Transfer Confirmation
Please i want to inform you that your fund was brought to our desk,of $1.8Million dollars, but it seems as you don't want to speak or write back to us. However, One Mr Peter visited my office, with a Beninios lawyer with application of claim over your USD$1.8Million dollars with this financial institution.
Please, do confirm to us, as matter of urgency if this man is really from you so that this office will not be held esponsible for paying wrong person. Based on board of directors meeting today, they have concluded to approve the payment on his favor since you failed to fulfill the obligation given to you by the wire transfer Department, to process your payment. Therefore, if you are really serious and willing to receive the first $1.8Million dollars through Diplomatic delivery, kindly get back to us and we will work with you to complete this your long awaited fund, so you are to effect the payment processing fees so that you will start expect your USD$1.8Million dollars via over night delivery.
Since the Payment processing fee is $490 in my concerted efforts to actualize your fund payment with the convenient time schedule I will raise $300, so I am expecting $190 from you today. As an insider in this Financial Institution, I must assure you that once you have provided to the Bank with their demands, they would now be under legal obligation to transfer the funds to you within 24hours once we confirm this $190. YES you must receive the delivery within two working day, after you have send the $190.
I will like you to co-operate with me to retrieve this legacy payment left behind than allowing the government of this country to forfeit it. I believed it is a life time opportunity which every reasonable human-being will never allow to slip by. We do business each day with an absolute commitment to ethics, honesty and credibility.
Am waiting for your urgent response.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer