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:
- "email@example.com" (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.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Johnson Ben" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 May 2017 00:01:46 -0700
Subject: Contact Tony Elumelu the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa
We officially want to inform you that an ATM Visa Card Valued at $120 Million USD only has been accredited in your favor by the Benin ATM
Card Organization, Republic of Benin. The ATM Card has a daily withdrawal limit of $10,000.00 USD Per Day from any ATM Card machine
in your country. You are advised to contact Tony Elumelu via this email for claim processing:
Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
call or text +234 807 591 9389
Note: arrangement can also be made in transferring of the awarded fund ($120m USD) to your personal bank account OR delivering of your
ATM Card to your contact address. Please provide the following details for processing to Tony Elumelu
Your Full Name==========
Cell Phone Number=======
Your Company names======
Current Home Address====
Nearest Airport ========
Next Of Kin Name========
Next Email Address======
NEXT CELL PHONE=========
1) Delivery of ATM Visa Card by courier : Yes/No
2) Bank to bank Transfer: Yes/No
Once again congratulation.
Mrs. Johnson Ben.