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 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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: UN Spokesman <"office."@souyanet.ocn.ne.jp>
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2017 07:30:36 +0900 (JST)
Subject: YOUR COMPENSATION
It's my pleasure to inform you that we have been working towards the eradication of fraudsters artists in the world with the help of the African Union (AU) United Nations (UN) European Union (EU) and we have been able to track down some artists in various parts of the world and they are all in government custody now.
During the investigation, they were able to recover some funds from these artists and all the organizations have agreed and ordered Mr.Heymans, the funds recovered to be shared among the 15 Lucky people listed as a compensation. This notice is been directed to you because your e-mail address was found in one of the artist file and computer hard-disk while investigating, you are therefore being compensated with sum of US$7 Million dollars in ATM card.
The ATM card with its security Pin Number shall be released to you by Mr. Heymans so contact him on his e-mail (email@example.com) with your personal data in order to proceed with this transaction.
Signed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres,