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:
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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 (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "From Michael Green" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2016 21:30:16 +0700
Subject: Compliments of the season to you and members of your family.
Compliments of the season to you and members of your family.
It is my pleasure to officially inform you that your name was on the list of those scammed victims, who was compensated by the Nigerian Federal Government to the sum of $275,000 (US dollars).
Already the sum of $75,000 (seventy five thousand US dollars) has been issued in blank cheque at Zenith Bank headquarters, Plot 84, Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island Lagos, Nigeria,
awaiting the confirmation of your;
3)telephone number, and
subject to the confirmation of your embassy.
You are directed to contact the account officer in charge of foreign remittance, Chidi Martins; via email; ( email@example.com) or +2349093059815
FOR: Public Affairs Section, Abuja
Embassy of the United States of America
Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area,
From Michael Green