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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "million us 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)
- "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)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.J V" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2017 04:09:47 +0530
Subject: Re:Urgent Reply For More Details!!!
I am Mrs.J.V the Administrative manager at a vault of financial & security Institute in Madrid, I am contacting you as regards an abandoned sum of $14.9 Million Us dollars (Fourteen million nine hundred thousand United State dollars) in our safe deposit vault, that belongs to one of our foreign customers that share the same surname with you, who died along with his entire family on the 11th march 2009 in a ghastly motor accident in Porto Portugal.
The banking policy can only allow the release of such funds to a benefactor through an application as next of kin to the deceased. After his death, the bank has been expecting a possible beneficiary, but nobody came for the claim, this institute has exploited all its ethical possibilities in other to contact possible relation or inheritor, but no success, I have made my own research with the help of private investigator, it is my knowledge that this man has been living in Barcelona for the past 19 years and has never returned back home. I also leant that his wife and 7 year old daughter died with him during this accident, however because of the international financial crises, a lot of reform has been made within the Spanish financial system; this includes the new law on succession/claims which indicates a duration in which such inheritance could be tolerated,
Upon your acceptance to partner with me, I urge you to please kindly get back to me with your direct contact details for further details via my email address: email@example.com on how you and me can make a claim to the funds in question. I GUARANTEE you that this process would be executed under a legitimate and risk free arrangement. Thanks as I wait to hear from you as soon as you receive this proposal e-letter.