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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:50:52 +0800
I Know This Message Will Come to You as a Surprise as we have not met before and because of a lot of activities going on in the internet today. But I assure you that this is real. Please do welcome this letter and help out as you finish reading.
I am the accountant Manager with Prime Bank here in Lome, Republic of Togo. A national of your country, who used to work with an oil servicing company here, the late client made a numbered time (fixed) deposited, valued at 10,500,000.00 (Ten Million, Five Hundred Thousand American) in my branch.
my proposal is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin to deceased person for the fact that you have same Nationality with him so that this money will not be reverted by the government.
I Want you to stand as the nearest person (next of Kin) to the deceased customer for this claims/ release to you.
Upon Your Reply. I Will Give You Details on How the Business Will Be Executed, and I hope that you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that I am about to repose on you for mutual benefits of our families.
I am waiting for your response, Have a great day.