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:
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "lagos" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr.Michael Green" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 May 2017 05:26:03 +0700
Subject: Compliments of the season to you and members of your family.
Dear Compliments of the season to you and members of your family. It is my =
pleasure to officially inform you that your name was on the list of those s=
cammed victims, who was compensated by the Nigerian Federal Government to t=
he sum of $475,000 (US dollars). Already the sum of $75,000 (seventy five t=
housand US dollars) has been issued an ATM at Zenith Bank headquarters, Plo=
t 84, Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island Lagos, Nigeria, awaiting the co=
nfirmation of your; 1)Full names 2)Address 3)telephone number, and 4)e-mail=
subject to the confirmation of your embassy. You are directed to contact t=
he account officer in charge of foreign remittance, Chidi Martins; via emai=
l; ( email@example.com) Kind regards, FOR: Public Affairs Sect=
ion, Abuja Embassy of the United States of America Plot 1075 Diplomatic Dri=
ve Central District Area, Abuja, Nigeria. Best regards, From Michael Green =