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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- make sure you reply to my alternative mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) thanks, yours sincerely mr. simon okoto international (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND AGENCY" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2016 12:21:45 +0100
Subject: Dead or Alive?
FROM THE DESK OF MR. SIMON OKOTO
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND AGENCY
INTERNATIONAL OPERATION DEPT
This is to inform you of your long overdue Payment outstanding our Banking records. I saw your name in the Central Computer among list of unpaid inheritance claims individuals and have to update your information through this email contact for immediate confirmation. Your name appeared among the beneficiaries who will receive a part-payment of US$20.500, 000 million (Twenty million and five hundred thousand United State dollars) and it has been approved already for payment months ago. However we received an email from one Mr. Morris Thompson who told us that he is your next of kin and that you died in a car accident last four months back.
He has also submitted his account information to the office department for transfer of the fund to him as your inheritor. We are now verifying by contacting your email address as we have in our Bank records before we can make the transfer into his account and for us to conclude confirmation if you are dead or not. Please, confirm response immediately before our action release of the outstanding payment against your name listed out. Upon this, I request you send your full personal information as soon as possible to enable this department finalize the transfer of the fund release to your nominated foreign Bank Account. This department needs the following information from you urgently.
1. Full Names..........
2. Telephone and Fax Number..........
3. Contact Address..........
7. Id Card
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This E-Mail is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. Once again, I apologize to you on behalf of International Monetary fund Agency towards this contact and proper confirmation required urgently from you if alive. Make sure you reply to my alternative mail address
MR. SIMON OKOTO
International Monetary Fund Agency