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 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)
- "there is no risk involved" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "DR BEN BANK MANAGER." <"privatewebsite."@sepia.ocn.ne.jp>
Reply-To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2017 20:19:22 +0900 (JST)
Subject: ATTENTION MY GOOD FRIEND
Greeting To You.
My name is Dr.Ben Lew. I am a Bank Manager, working with a Prime Bank here in Togo. I contacted you for a reason, one of my late customer who died 13 years ago and left 15.5 Million US dollars in his account and we have like six more customers like this in the past years. Since then no relative have come to claim his money. I think we can work things out if you can provide us an empty account whit online banking access.
I have relevant documents to register your name as the next of kin to the deceased, since my Director is involved in this.
I assure you that there is no risk involved, we will handle this transaction legally and professionally. Get back to me immediately for more explanations on how to proceed with the deposit.we will only deposit money into your account and we will split it into three.
I wait for your positive response as soon as possible.
DR BEN LEW MOHAMED
BANK MANAGER IN TOGO.