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 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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "U.S Department of the Treasury" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"U.S Department of the Treasury" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2016 20:08:19 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Your $5.5 Million Dollars Payment is due to release to you
This message is to remind you again to contact Mrs. Janet L. Yellen in
Federal Reserve Bank of Washington Dc to receive your $5.5 million
dollars payment. The Federal Reserve Bank in United State will
complete your $5.5 million dollars payment without any obligation. The
bank will not be blame for not releasing this payment to you if you
fail to contact them and follow their instruction after this message.
Upon your receipt of this message, contact Mrs Janet L. Yellen in
Federal Reserve Bank with below information and request them to
release your $5.5 million dollars payment as I instructed you.
Contact Person: Janet L. Yellen,
Vice Chair Board of Governor Federal Reserve Bank
Once you contact them with above information, they will process and
release your $5.5 million million dollars to you. Get back to us once
you contacted them
Thanks for your understanding
Mr. Jacob J. Lew
Secretary of the Treasury